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Peter English at the SCG
January 3, 2010
Brotherly thrills and spills
Kamran Akmal continues to show that his parents made the right decision in giving the older brother the gloves. Umar Akmal has proved he is, at best, the second most competent catcher in the family following his early efforts in the gully in both Tests. In Melbourne he dropped Simon Katich on 4 before the opener went on to 98 and here he missed Phillip Hughes from his opening delivery. This time the lapse wasn't crucial, with Hughes departing nine balls later without adding to his score. Kamran had no problems with his takes of Shane Watson or Marcus North.
Ricky Ponting isn't enjoying the SCG as much as he used to. Before the India Test of 2007-08, Ponting had scored 1226 runs at 81.73 in Sydney, but since then has managed 109 in five bats, including two first-innings, first-ball ducks in the past 12 months. He was at serious fault for today's mistake, spooning an ambitious pull off Mohammad Sami to deep backward square leg, where Umar Gul swooped like the clichéd seagull on a chip.
Eyes like a hawk … apparently
Marcus North has had a tough summer but won some support from Hawk-Eye during an lbw review that looked plumb to all things that breathe. The computer thought differently and despite North playing forward and being hit below the knee roll by Mohammad Asif, the technology showed the ball going over the stumps, leaving an embarrassed Billy Doctrove to reverse his decision. Reviews were not meant for this type of judgment, but there was no doubt over North's edge on 10 off the same bowler.
If it seams, it spins
So says Shane Warne, but the theory didn't work for Danish Kaneria. While Sami and Asif chopped down Australia, the legspinner Kaneria suffered the most damage when his two overs cost 18, with 17 coming off his last six balls. Mitchell Johnson slapped a four to midwicket and another through cover before finishing the over with a six into the Brewongle Stand.
Back in Bracks?
Nathan Bracken hasn't been spotted very often at New South Wales training since having a knee operation in September. However, with the Australian team in town Bracken has reappeared, sans Alice band, and reeled in the job of bowling to Katich during his morning fitness test. The limited-overs season is approaching so it seemed an opportune time for Bracken to have a bowl in front of the coach and a selector.
The Pakistani players walked out in bright pink caps as part of the colour change that is becoming a tradition at the SCG Test. This game is helping the The McGrath Foundation, which was set up by Glenn McGrath's late wife Jane, and the tourists presented the signed hats to the local bowling hero on the outfield. Last year A$580,000 was raised during the game here against South Africa, helping the number of breast care nurses at the foundation rise from seven to 53.
As West Indies play their 500th Test, here's an interactive journey through their Test history