Do you, like me, find it ironic that although Australia have a reasonably old side, we also have a reasonably inexperienced side? At least for Test cricket. As Monty says "30 is the new 20" and even the young guys are old. Except for Hughes - 10 years old is young.
Not unexpectedly, this has lead to blood-doped levels of enhanced speculation regarding our current prospects in Sorth Efrica. "Test of stamina for new Aussie faces" is the current headline at Crooky. For me, though, watching Straya strut their stuff in Joburg without Symonds, Hayden and Watson millstoning expectations was immensely enjoyable. The win didn't hurt, either. Just about the most pleasing aspect from the Joburg Test was watching Straya starting to come to terms with playing hard-grind Test cricket, not millionaire cricket. That was always going to be the big challenge in the post-superstar years. Forget all this talk of "rebuilding", the big issue... ahem, going forward was always going to be learning how to play without Warne and McGrath. Even if we stumble in Durban and Cape Town, it is a relief to know that we seem to be heading in the right direction.
Not that there aren't many questions to be answered in Durban.
The recurring one leading into the Second Test is whether Australia are about run out of fast bowlers. They may be, but a group comprising Siddle, Johnson, McGain, McDonald, Hilfenhaus and McGoffin, while not olde-time Windies-like, is not dreadful, especially if the conditions suit (OK, that goes for most sides).
Can Australia maintain their intensity two Tests on the trot? Probably, but can they also maintain their discipline? Will Ponting win the toss again? Does that matter? It was certainly key to the victories in Sydney and Joburg where batting last is traditionally difficult. Can Hussey get a score? Have the Varks worked out Katich? Will Smith gift Ponting another massive let-off? Can North make another score while regularly slicing in the air through and over gully and point? What's the Durban pitch up to? It's no coincidence Australia have won the last two Tests on lively pitches. India know how to neuter Australia, just as the Windies have neutered England: serve up dull roads. With pitches in mind: do Australia need a spinner? Will the Vark bowling be as bad in Durban as it was in Joburg? How significant was the absence of Fat Jack during the Australian first innings? Was the Australian collapse in the Joburg second innings a portent of things to come? Is Hughes scared of chin music, or just awkward? Same for The Duminator? What's Wilbur Smith's middle name? Will Hot Spot help or hinder the referral system? It should do the former... in theory. I've really enjoyed the controversy surrounding the referral system, but the thing that bites me hardest is the knowledge that when a decision is made, there is a chance that it will be over-turned. Take the AB LB on Monday. He's given out, he looks out, but as soon as he appeals you get hit with nagging doubts about whether he is going to be reprieved. To me that's the biggest problem with the system, apart from the howlers, you must sit through several minutes of uncomfortable speculation, no matter how out or not out the batsman appears.