Kane Williamson is the latest in a long line of visiting captains to struggle in Australia. Picture: AAP
Kane Williamson is the latest in a long line of visiting captains to struggle in Australia. Picture: AAP

Kane not able as another captain humbled in Australia

TAKE down the captain. Take down the team.

You know the Australian team is getting back to its best when it dismantles opposition teams from the top down.

It's happening again this summer. Australia is ruffling Mr Unruffled Kane Williamson whose returns - 34, 14, 9 and 0 - are diminishing by the innings.

The declining numbers tell the story. As the stress grows, Williamson's once Zen-like concentration levels have scrambled and the dividends have decreased.

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Williamson is following a long line of visiting captains to be crushed by the stress of trying to beat Australia in the devil's lair.

Nasser Hussain, Graham Gooch, Jimmy Adams, Wasim Akram and Sachin Tendulkar all had their captaincy careers directly terminated or seriously shortened after landslide defeats on our shores.

That won't happen to Williamson who has become a celebrated figure after guiding his side to within a run of taking the World Cup then beating England in a Test series in New Zealand.

But this is still a truly chastening moment for himself and his team despite the great fight displayed by Tom Blundell in his stunning against-the-odds century.

Kane Williamson looks on after being dismissed by James Pattinson at the MCG. Picture: AAP
Kane Williamson looks on after being dismissed by James Pattinson at the MCG. Picture: AAP

In a way Blundell's cool-headed defiance only spotlighted the shortcomings of the more experienced men above him in the order.

Like so many visiting captains the whole "Australia thing'' seems to have ground Williamson down.

His shot in the first innings - a reckless top edged hook - was the sign of a fatigue and his lbw in the second innings was another surprise error in judgment as he played across the line and missed one from James Pattinson.

He was stiff to be given out to a ball which would barely have taken a coat of varnish off leg-stump - if it hit it at all - but, true to the decent sportsman that he is, Williamson simply walked off.

No pundit tipped a green-horned Pakistan team would provide stiffer opposition than New Zealand this summer but the livelier decks of Perth and Melbourne have rattled the Kiwis.

Australia is playing wonderful cricket and is such a more impressive force for the fact that the team is not relying on the twin engines of Steve Smith and David Warner.

A fascinating decision awaits Australia if this attack continues to improve because Josh Hazlewood's Test record demands instant reinstatement when he becomes fit again after a leg muscle strain.

But who misses out?

James Pattinson gives Australia’s attack a menacing edge. Picture: AAP
James Pattinson gives Australia’s attack a menacing edge. Picture: AAP

Pat Cummins selects himself. Mitchell Starc is in career-best form and James Pattinson adds that menacing edge that makes teams uncomfortable.

One of this trio is likely to go in Australia's next Test series in Bangladesh where Australia is likely to play two spinners. Big decisions are looming but they are pleasant ones.

Great fast bowling combinations normally come in pairs. Rarely do they have three. Barely ever, outside the great West Indian sides of the 1980s, do they get four world class quicks in the frame at the same time.

The moral of this series is one which has floated down through the generations - Australia rarely loses Test matches which become arm wrestles at home. They are a difficult team to chisel through on home soil.

You normally need a stick of gelignite to blow the front door open then let your craftsmen storm the building.

Last year the magnificent Indian fast man Jasprit Bumrah was too hot to handle. In the 1980s Richard Hadlee tore Australia apart.

But a group of willing seam and swingmen bowling at around 130kph is like bringing knives to a gunfight when the Australia quicks are bowling 10-15kph faster.

News Corp Australia


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