There is still a lot of room for improvement. Having said that, nobody should have expected a miraculous performance from a team that rose from the proverbial ashes just a month back. There has been a lot of positives to take away from the tests.
For one, we have faced the best in the world and have come away from it with the respect and admiration of our adversaries and critics alike, and the self-confidence that we have the ability to put in quality performances at this level. This test series was not just a challenge for our playing skills but one of mental strength. No one can deny the tremendous fighting spirit and courage that our boys displayed in the face of overwhelming odds. We may have lost the battle but we definitely have not lost the war. We all knew this series will bring out the real cricketers amongst our ranks. We have had a few pleasant discoveries. Competition to get into the team has never been this healthy. There was tangible improvement from innings to innings. We made the world champions work hard for their money and the next time around, I am confident, we will put up even a better performance.
The bottomline is, we have come out of this test series with a lot more pride than we went in with! We ought to be grateful for that. I would like to go on record for saying that, the first innings in the second test and, in general, our second test is a major turning point in our test cricket history.
Of course there are issues that need to be addressed. While, we played the Aussies pace greats with as much ease as any test team, we bombed against the leg-spinner Macgill who consistently created debilitating collapses in each of our innings. Perhaps the result would have been different if we had handled him better. We need to address that pronto. The other issue of course is the generous nature of our batsmen once they are well set. Also the persistent bouts of insanity near the end of a session of play are a cause for concern. In short, there is a long long road ahead of us. Yet something tells me the journey will be a lot more pleasant from now on!
Its a steep learning curve, and its at a fast clip too. But, up till now , all indications are that we are on the right track!
The ODIs are on next. We will be entering them with a much more confident frame of mind. If cricket as a whole is a game of uncertainty then One day cricket is a lottery! Lets keep our fingers crossed.