North's mission impossible
On a hiding to nothing
Marcus North was hoping for a big score in Hobart to ease questions over his future but when he came to the crease at 4 for 423, he found himself in an unenviable position. He was following a triple-century partnership, he knew a declaration was likely to come in an hour or so, and that quick runs were what the team wanted. North scratched to 21 and played a couple of good strokes before he edged behind. It wasn't the roaring success he wanted but it probably wasn't enough for the selectors to axe him, and Ricky Ponting hoped they took into account the situation. "t was a horrible time really for him to have to come out and bat today," Ponting said. "It's one of those situations where you haven't got a lot to gain and you've got a lot to lose. Hopefully that's taken into consideration."
Kamran is that you?
Sarfraz Ahmed hasn't had the cleanest debut you could hope for as a Test wicketkeeper but he has held onto most of what has come his way. Apart from one: Brad Haddin, in the middle of one of those breezy hands of mental disintegration, got an edge off Danish Kaneria which hit Sarfraz's thigh before he had time to react. In his defence, it was a thick edge and they are never easy standing up to spin. Little difference it would have made to Kaneria, who had three catches grounded by Kamran Akmal last week and countless others over the years.
An overthrow, sort of
Seemingly every day, Pakistan have found new ways of looking terrible in the field and another comical effort continued the trend in Hobart. Ricky Ponting chopped the ball near his stumps and away to the leg side, and Sarfraz collected and shaped to throw at the stumps of Ponting, who had taken off and turned back when he realised no single was on offer. But Sarfraz's throw flew out the back of his hand away behind him, allowing Ponting a very odd looking overthrow.
It was a more positive day for Haddin, who made a quick 41 with the bat and then collected his 100th Test dismissal. At times during his 20 months in the Test side, Haddin has been criticised for a lack of cleanliness behind the stumps but he has had an excellent summer and his milestone came with a straightforward edge behind to remove Imran Farhat.
Clarke's view on the review
Pakistan were convinced they had Michael Clarke on 113 when he flashed outside off stump. Rudi Koertzen's not-out decision was supported by the third umpire, who reviewed Hot Spot and saw no contact, and the ball did not appear to touch the bat on the normal vision. Snicko heard something, although it was unclear if the ball had already passed the bat at the time. The stump microphone later picked up Clarke telling his partner Ponting: "I didn't feel like I hit it at all. There was a noise." That's what most observers thought, too.
Hayden gets political call-up
The success of Shane Watson and Simon Katich has meant Australia haven't missed Matthew Hayden terribly over the past year, but he will make a comeback all the same. Hayden has been named as captain of the Prime Minister's XI to take on West Indies in Canberra on February 4 in the lead-up to their one-day series in Australia. Hayden will lead a team made up largely of younger players viewed as potential stars of the future. The prime minister Kevin Rudd was at Bellerive Oval on the second day and showed his bowling style in the nets. His action wasn't textbook, although the ball did at least reach the other end of the pitch and turned when it got there, unlike the famous footage of his predecessor. One of John Howard's efforts dribbled off the middle of the pitch.