The first season of The Test: A New Era for Australia's Team surprisingly became one of the most popular Amazon Original sports documentaries when it debuted in 2020
Last Updated: 01.00 PM, Jan 11, 2023
Story: In the aftermath of Tim Paine’s shock resignation as captain, due to allegations of improper conduct, Australia's Ashes preparation came undone just weeks before the first Test. Pace bowler Pat Cummins is named Captain as the Aussies welcome the ‘Old Enemy’ Down Under in a bid to retain the Ashes.
Review: The Australian Cricket team is arguably the greatest the sport has ever seen. And their sheer dominance over the decades, across all formats, has earned them a lot of admirers but also their fair share of detractors. In many ways, they are perennial villains of the sport thanks to their infamous on-field antics and endless sledging. But their villainy reached new heights when the team were caught using sandpaper to tamper crickets balls in order to gain an unfair advantage for swing bowling. Veteran batsman Usman Khawaja ‘colourfully’ explained in the first episode of the new season why the team is in desperate need of reshaping public perception about them.
The first episode entirely focuses on Pat Cummins replacing Tim Paine as the new Test captain. The role of captaincy is co-incidentally the same issue which was the focus of the series premiere when Steve Smith was replaced by Paine. And one would imagine that this would give the English an upper hand in terms of a morale boost. But the Aussies battered them, which is surprising considering England are the world champions in both T20 and ODI. Or it could simply be an indication that when it comes to Test cricket, the purest format of the game, the Australians are still a force to be reckoned with — with or without sandpaper.
The first episode quickly burns through its runtime and it has just the right amount of cricketing action, behind-the-scenes drama, and plenty of banter. Marnus Labuschagne is central to several of these scenarios — both on and off the field. The second episode is almost dedicated entirely to Scott Boland who made his debut for the Test team at the age of 31. Unlike his teammates, Boland comes across as someone who is genuinely humble and reserved. And his Test debut was akin to something out of a fairytale. He ripped through the English batting line-up in the second innings for an incredible haul of six wickets for seven runs. There is also a focus on his Aboriginal ancestry and how his family found out about their heritage only in 2017. There is also an emphasis on Usman Khawaja’s Islamic faith as he explains to young children how Islam was perceived in Australia in the 90s and how it has changed in modern society.
Verdict: The new season of The Test is certainly worth investing time into if you are a fan of the ‘purest form of cricket’. Scott Boland is undoubtedly the star of the first two episodes and long may it continue