While most would agree that cricket has grown more competitive over the years, not many would deny either that the present Australian Team has no competition at all.
The year 2006 has been a carnival for Ricky Ponting's men. Australia won 20 out of 29 ODIs played this year. They have won all ODI tournaments they played in 2006. In the process they also won the ICC Champions Trophy, the only major trophy to have eluded them till now.
They remain invincible in the longer version of the game. Australia has won all ten Tests played by it this year.
Only twice before has any country (playing five or more Tests in a year) won all the Tests played by it in that particular year. West Indies in 1962 won all five Tests played by it and Australia in 2000 won all eight Tests played by it that year.
Even otherwise only West Indies have won more Tests (11 in 1984) than Australia (10 in 2006) in any given year. However, the eleven West Indian wins came out of 15 matches played by it.
While Australia's record in Test Cricket has been exemplary, its performance on home turf is simply amazing. Sample this - Australia has not lost a Test match at home since end 2003. In all it has played 19 matches during this period, and has won 16 and drew the rest.
Going back further, Australia has only lost 2 out of 49 Test matches played at home turf since 1999. The last time Australia was defeated at home was by India in December 2003 (remember the majestic 233 by Rahul Dravid at Adelaide)
Even when playing abroad, Australia has the highest success rate of 35.89 percent (117 wins from 326 matches) amongst all countries. For any country, playing five or more Tests overseas in any given year, Australia has the best record of 100 percent achieved this very year. (It has won 5 out 5 Tests played overseas in 2006)
This Australian team is surely on its way to romance the history books. Perhaps it’s the only team where individual performances are overshadowed by team achievements.