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Peter English at the SCG
January 4, 2010
Australia are praying their final-session surge of seven wickets will motivate the batsmen into a significantly improved performance as they battle to avoid giving up their series lead. Pakistan have dominated the first two days against a struggling home side and hold a 204-run advantage after finishing at a healthy 9 for 331.
Doug Bollinger, the left-arm fast bowler, led the Australian charge by snatching three victims with the second new ball in an action-packed conclusion, but whether the hosts can remain in the game depends on the batsmen. "It was a good fight-back by the guys," Bollinger said. "It was frustrating early, but they were two-for at tea and now they're nine down. We just need to try and get the last one tomorrow and then get our batting hats on for a certain amount of time and get something to bowl at in the second innings."
Australia got into trouble when Ricky Ponting won the toss and batted on an unusual SCG surface, sliding to 127. Bollinger would not admit his personal feelings on Ponting's decision, which has attracted heavy criticism, but said he had never seen an SCG pitch as green as this one. "It doesn't bother me, it's just the way it goes," he said of Ponting's call at the toss. "I can't change anything now. It's gone, we're just worrying about the second innings now. Everyone's really positive and we all back Ricky 110%."
While Bollinger said the pitch offered less movement on the second day, the bowlers still failed to take their opportunities before lunch as Salman Butt and Imran Farhat opened with a 109-run stand. There were regular plays and misses, although the fast men seemed reluctant to change to a consistent, fuller length.
"It is frustrating, but it is the second day and we kind of knew that was going to happen," Bollinger said. "We've just got to be as patient as they were [when we bat]. I think we bowled well and we fought really well and they're nine down. It's good that the guys never gave up." Bollinger finished with 3 for 70 while Shane Watson, who succeeded against the slogging tail-enders, and Mitchell Johnson gained two wickets each.
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