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A new team is born

29 January 2012 6

Yesterday’s blog finished with my wife arriving at the hospital just as stumps was called on day four. We pick up the following morning…

 A birthing suite in a maternity ward has much in common with a cricket field.

For a start, the unborn child has to be the batsman – after all, everyone else is trying to get him out.

They seem to be in the Ed Cowan mould, offering stubborn resistance and able to occupy the crease for hours at a time.

The mother seems to be the fast bowler - pushing and straining to get the batsman out, a bit of cursing when things aren’t going right, and working up a sweat in an often thankless role.

I think Ben Hilfenhaus is the most apt comparison, a real workhorse, going as hard if not harder at the end than at the beginning, never giving an inch, and not giving up until the job is done.

The junior midwife seemed to fill a Nathan Lyon type of role in this series – always buzzing around doing her thing without ever being a real threat to the batsman.

A busy, enthusiastic type who is just happy bowling most of the stock overs, in readiness for the strikers to attack.

The senior midwife was the strike bowler – only seen sparingly, but always having an impact when she was, much like Peter Siddle over the course of the summer.

She was an in-your-face type not to be trifled with, her arsenal consisting of a sharp tongue and withering glare.

Her presence always seemed to bring results.

The doctor was the captain, and Michael Clarke would have seen in him something of himself – ever in control, and always willing to try something different to keep the labour going in the right direction.

Leadership was also displayed in his encouragement of his bowlers; a smile and a pat on the back here, a short rebuke there, but all parties still working for him.

I was left with the role of an Indian fieldsman – lacking in focus, falling over at the simplest request to run down a glass of water, and showing a general ineptness to deal with a reasonably straightforward situation.

In the grandmothers’ we saw Ricky Ponting-like grizzled veterans (seen it all many times, done it all many times), and other family members had seemingly been set in defensive field positions – nowhere near the action, but serving some sort of purpose nevertheless.

So at the same time Harris and Siddle were resuming and steaming in to Sharma and Saha, Danielle was also doing everything to get her ‘batsman’ out.

And while the two Aussie quicks each had success in the third and fourth overs of the day, my wife was in her third and fourth hour of labour, with the baby refusing to yield.

Zaheer Khan stayed longer than his usual couple of balls, playing a sprightly innings with some enterprising boundaries. I was actually doing the same, via Stick Cricket on my mobile.

Don’t get me wrong, I was still there for my wife, rubbing her back, holding her hand etc, offering full support when a contraction hit, but between times it was a little boring to be honest, and I needed my own amusement.

Hilfenhaus was brought on and claimed Khan, around the time the senior midwife claimed my phone.

This time it wasn’t only Danielle screaming in pain.

So there was only one wicket left for the Aussies to complete their clean sweep, and educated guesses put it at two hours left for us.

Something told me that India would be all out before the baby.

It seemed utterly fitting that Nathan Lyon would take the final wicket of the day, giving each bowler a scalp on this final morning.

Rarely have I seen such a complete and even team performance from a bowling unit in a series, and in fact I may never have.

Bowlers win you matches, and batsmen make sure you don’t lose them.

Considering that in addition to the bowlers in this match, there are young guns like Pattinson, Cummins and Starc in reserve, the future of Australian bowling in strong, and I sense 20 wickets a match will be taken many times over the next decade.

So while the team effort in Adelaide was complete, the one at South Eastern hospital was approaching the final stages.

Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the details of the last couple of hours, but I am happy to announce that the delivery was perfect, reminiscent of Hilfenhaus’s ball to get Laxman in the Sydney test, although I must confess that this was not the first thing on my mind at the time.

The arrival of Jacob Brendan Rose was a safe one for both mother and son, which all one wants for any birth.

And after this 4-0 series defeat of India, it is not a stretch to suggest that the rebirth of the Australian cricket team is also safely underway.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
Read more about: Vodafone Test Series v India
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