‘The Test’ is back with a new season, documenting the new phase of the Australian Men’s Cricket Team under the leadership of Pat Cummins. The docuseries is now streaming on Prime Video.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
The Australian Men’s Cricket Team had successfully recreated itself with Tim Paine as the captain and Justin Langer as the coach. However, the team suddenly finds itself in murky waters prior to an important series.
Three weeks before the Ashes, Tim Paine steps down from his position as the captain of the team. Paine is at the center of a scandal; he allegedly sent lewd messages to a woman. His departure shocks the team; no one saw it coming.
Pat Cummins takes his position. Along with leadership, comes immense pressure because he is debuting as the captain in one of the fundamental series for the Australians. He tries to keep the team positive despite the pressure.
Ignoring the controversies and scandals, the players focus mainly on the first Test against England. Australia dominates the game from the beginning, and Cummins leads his team to an easy victory in the first Test.
However, Cummins has to sit out the second Test match because he had been in close contact with a Covid-positive person; he needs to be isolated.
Steve Smith takes his place as the captain. Marmus Labuschagne’s century and Jhye Richardson’s performance help the team bag another victory.
For the third match, Boxing Day Test in MCG, a choice has to be made between Michael Neser and Scott Boland. The team chooses to go with Boland, who would be debuting on his home ground. He is the fourth-ever indigenous person to play for Australia.
Boland’s debut is defined as unbelievably good; he manages to get the second-best figures ever in an Ashes Test match. He is the player of the match, and he is awarded the Mullagh Medal. It is his terrific game that makes Australia win the third Test against England.
The spotlight shifts to Usman Khawaja, one of the experienced players on the team, who replaces Travis Head for the fourth Test. He scores a century, but the match is still a draw.
The Australians win the fifth Test without breaking a sweat; they win the Ashes Series by 4-0, establishing their dominance once again after a period of turmoil.
However, this is not the last challenge that Cummins has to face as the captain. Coach Langer’s contract is about to end, and he seeks to extend it, considering the recent performance of the team.
He has coached the team for four years, and he has coached it to World Cup and an Ashes. However, the escalating tensions between the head coach and the team get him an extension of just six months, which he refuses.
The players and the coach had been growing apart for a while, and the players express their desire to have a coach with a new style and skill set. This makes people question Cummins’s leadership.
Cummins did not have it easy at that time, but he chose to stand up for his teammates, as a captain should. The team must weather the storm and prove that they can win without Langer.
The Test season 2 explained in detail:
Does the team win against Pakistan?
After Langer resigns, the team decides to go and play in Pakistan after 24 years; this is another one of the unbelievable steps taken by this team.
The team finds out that two well-known former cricketers have passed away, which dampens their spirit. Furthermore, they are playing on an entirely foreign pitch. It will not be easy for them to bag a victory.
Due to the unfamiliarity of the pitch, the first Test is a draw. Similarly, the team faces the ferocious attack of Babar Azam in the second Test, which is also a draw. The results are unsettling for the team after their performance in the Ashes.
In the third Test, Cummins takes it upon himself to get at least one win; he patiently waits and attacks the other team at the right moment to take their wickets. He is supported by Nathan Lyon, who takes the wicket of Azam.
After a 15-day struggle, the Australians win the series in Pakistan. It is considered a breakthrough on international soil for the team led by Cummins.
What are the struggles that the team faces in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is not one of the strongest teams in the world, but it is extremely hard to defeat the team on their home ground. If Cummins’ team manages to do that, it would be a defining factor for them.
Sri Lanka is facing an unprecedented economic crisis in 2022, giving rise to social unrest and mass protests, when the Australian team arrives. The players have to play in a country where everyday life has become a struggle for the citizens.
Additionally, the Galle pitch works in favor of Sri Lankan spin bowlers and makes it difficult for visiting batsmen to stay put and score runs. When Australia played in Galle in 2016, the team was destroyed by Sri Lanka.
As Travis Head is injured, Glen Maxwell seeks to replace him and play a test match after five years. He shares his struggles and looks forward to the match. Unfortunately, he never gets the chance to play because Head heals in time.
Does Australia win the series?
While Australia performs well initially, the Australian batsmen have a hard time facing the attacks of the Sri Lankan bowlers. The team loses crucial wickets.
Cameron Green is young and not very experienced. He goes out and employs his own strategy. He manages to score runs against all odds, even though this is his first tour to Sri Lanka. He is the one who leads the team to victory in the first Test.
In the second Test, the Sri Lankan bowlers continue their attack, but this time, Smith manages to score a century. Meanwhile, during the match, the protestors, who wish to storm the capital but cannot, surround the stadium.
As the government falls in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan players get inspired to play for their country. Their unrelenting efforts and enthusiasm lead them to beat the Australians by an innings for the first time.
Even though this is the first loss faced by Cummins’ team and the series gets tied, the players understand that it is a historic moment for the other team and their country.
While Langer worked at restoring Australian cricket, this new era, termed the Pat Cummins era, is different. It is the new face of Australian cricket. Cummins believes that his team can be as good as any other team from the previous eras.