Australian cricket documentary charts lows and highs of national side

The Test A New Era for Australia's Team is an eight-part documentary series that begins at one of the lowest points in Australia's sporting history, the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018, and takes us through to the triumph of retaining the Ashes in 2019.

The Test is both riveting drama and a detailed insight into the life of the Australian cricket team as it seeks to rebuild itself after the Cape Town disgrace and the suspension of the team's star players, captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner.

After backgrounding the scandal, The Test begins in earnest with the appointment of Justin Langer, a passionate and driven man, whose mission statement is to restore the reputation of the national team and develop a new culture that would bring both respect and success.

The team's new captain is the unfashionable choice of wicket-keeper Tim Paine.

Langer and Paine form an unlikely, but ultimately effective, leadership team.

Langer is an emotionally charged individual, a fighter whose heart is on his sleeve and who craves success with every fibre of his being.

His tenseness is nicely off-set by the calm and likable Paine, whose humble dignity and ability to confront the likes of Indian champion Virat Kohli and the British press wins him the respect of his team and country.

This is a documentary about the struggle for redemption and renewed respect.

It is not a view from a distance, the camera comes in close, sits you down next to the players and staff through selection meetings, training, and the team dressing room.

It puts a sharp focus on the pressure of professional sport, the demands of a victory-hungry nation, the crisis of confidence players suffer when form deserts them, a team struggling to find a winning formula without two of its best players and ultimately, the incredible return and resurgence of Steve Smith as a hero for the ages.

You don't have to be a cricket fan to enjoy this level of human drama, but if you are, it is simply not to be missed.

  • The Test: A New Era for Australia's Team, Amazon Prime Video.

Simon Bourke