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Saturday Serve

Don't crow until Australia beats South Africa

Whoa Betsy! Easy there girl, we don't want the Australian bandwagon getting out of control.

Now don't get me wrong. I love beating the Poms as much as anyone, but we're getting ahead of ourselves when it comes to our standing in the Test cricket world.

There's been all sorts of crazy headlines, with some past greats leading the charge.

Glenn McGrath reckons this is the greatest Australian bowling attack he's ever seen.

Adam Gilchrist was equally gushing over Brad Haddin's keeping performance in the Perth Test.

And with headlines claiming ''Wins overseas key to greatness: Clarke'' you'd think our current XI hadn't lost a game in years.


It all seems a bit premature. We just need to put the brake on the bandwagon and stop it careering out of control.

Sure, our bowlers have completely dominated the England top order and left their tail curled up in the foetal position muttering, ''Please, not again, Mitchell,'' over and over again.

But the best in recent history? Really?

Mitchell Johnson has been destructive, taking 31 Pommy scalps at an average of just 14.3.

Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle and Shane Watson have done their bit with the cherry as well.

Doggedly sticking to their plans, they've smashed England into submission with a combination of brilliant and miserly bowling.

McGrath might be able to remember each of his 563 Test victims, but he seems to have forgotten some of the great bowling attacks we've had in the past.

Any line-up containing himself and one SK Warne would have to be as good as any Australia's produced in the past 40 years.

Likewise with Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson.

Facing those two armed with a rock-hard pill would've been like facing an angry Johnson on steroids steaming in from both ends.

Haddin's form - both with the bat and gloves - has been sparkling and he deserves the praise he's getting.

But Ian Healy and Rod Marsh would have something to say about best Aussie keeping performances during Gilly's lifetime.

Plus Gilchrist is selling himself short.

Any perceived weaknesses he might've had behind the stumps were more than made up for when he picked up the willow.

Talk of this team reaching greatness seems far-fetched at the moment.

Australia won only five Tests last year and four of those were against a free-falling English team that couldn't beat an egg.

It was only last winter when it flogged us in the Ol' Dart and we were slaughtered in India before that.

The real test comes next month when the Aussies travel to face world No.1 South Africa.

While there's been plenty of upsides to this magical summer where the gloating text messages are all heading north of the equator, we just need to calm down a bit.

To be fair, Aussie skipper Michael Clarke has been trying to keep a lid on it ever since it became apparent England was hopeless.

He said on Thursday: ''I don't think it would be wise of us to get carried away.

''We've gone from the worst Australian team to ever tour India (losing 4-0 earlier last year) to one of the best Ashes wins of cricket's history.

''We've won four Test matches in our own backyard, but it seems in international cricket at the moment a lot of teams are having success in their own backyard.

''It's what you do away from home, as well. That's going to be a huge challenge for us over the next 12 months.''

And somehow that became ''Wins overseas key to greatness'' in a media that's being whipped into a frenzy like a pool of sharks that's stumbled across a hole in the net at the nearest tuna farm.

Don't get me wrong, feel free to turn to the nearest Pom and ask them what the score is with that all-knowing, cheeky grin and leave them with no doubt you know exactly how many runs Haddin needs to get yet another century.

But once we've dispatched the Barmy Army back to Bondi with its monotonous songs about flags and Queens between their legs, we just need to take a deep breath and realise we're not back to the heady days of the '90s and noughties where we barely lost a Test and sat on top of the Test rankings.

We're still only third, behind India and South Africa.

We can't start talking about greatness just yet.

That will have to wait until March when we've stitched up the Saffers.

Giddy up Betsy, we've got two months to get this bandwagon to Cape Town.