New Zealand 2009 December 14, 2009

Ridiculous to the sublime


Mohammad Yousuf has demonstrated that he is willing to apply himself to fight a rearguard, which has been the one chink in his formidable armour © Getty Images

Pakistan batted so differently in the two innings at Napier that it might have been a different team second time around. It was almost a different wicket, without any of the troubling pace and bounce of the first day, a Pakistani wicket in fact. Indeed, the blind panic that inflicted Pakistan's batsmen on the opening day has been banished by a determined effort that helped reconnect them with the disciplines of Test cricket.

Where Imran Farhat and co flashed and thrashed, they now defended and left well alone. If anything, Pakistan have been too cautious in their second innings to put themselves in a strong position to win this match. The new risk reduction method was applied with almost tyrannical zeal by Mohammad Yousuf as he repeatedly gave Umar Akmal "the eyes" whenever the new champion became overambitious.

For a while Umar nodded and played in submission, but a running mix-up soon put paid to that as the old pro and young pup had an impassioned exchange. It is impressive that Umar has such conviction for a teenager, even though his backing up technique is straight from school 3rd XI cricket. After letting off some steam, Umar decided to occasionally free his arms again.

Surprisingly, Yousuf was the next to go when you might have fully expected Umar's frustration to get the better of him. But despite failing to secure a century, Yousuf has demonstrated that he is willing to apply himself to fight a rearguard, which has been the one chink in his formidable armour. The captaincy has strange effects on people, and this outcome has been an important benefit of Yousuf's leadership.

Overall, Pakistan's much criticised batsmen can be pleased with their application in the second innings here. The Test and the series, however, remain in the balance and the next session will be crucial. Pakistan will need a lead approaching 250 to secure a draw, a sublime result after the ridiculous first-innings debacle.

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Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on December 16, 2009, 13:14 GMT

    salam rain saved pakistan.and it was very disapoiting that yousaf said we also wanted to draw it.what impact u put on other teams that we r so weak.he should have not said like that.sami has been reecalled what is pcb doing sami has only pace no is really out of thinking.mohamad asif looked out of shape in last innings.

  • testli5504537 on December 16, 2009, 11:48 GMT

    Pakistan is very lucky that rain helped them from a humiliating 2-1 series defeat. The simple draw condition on the 5th day was turned to a defeat situation by the irresponsible batting of Misbah first and Umar Akmal and amer and Kaneria next. Why din't these player undersatnd that they needed to stay in the crease 10 more overs to ensure a draw at that point. When will these idiots know little better math for overs and runs. My second point is why NZ batsmen were so fluent and easy to score in the same pitch when the pak players were struggling? My answer is NZ have better players, both in batting and in their limited source of bowling. Finally get ready for a 3-0 australia series soon.The hopeless management, and the team deserve that. If good sense works in the mind of the selectors, they will see what all these comment writers make the right team for australia tour. You have a faulty team as of now.

  • testli5504537 on December 16, 2009, 10:44 GMT

    md yousuf s a very good player as wel as a good captain and also md asif have a chance toplay against australia in test as well as odi and t 20

  • testli5504537 on December 16, 2009, 10:44 GMT

    md yousuf s a very good player as wel as a good captain and also md asif have a chance toplay against australia in test as well as odi and

  • testli5504537 on December 16, 2009, 8:11 GMT

    Mohammed Sami again ! only a fool does not learn from his mistakes.Sohail khan would have been million times better on a fast Australian pitch.

  • testli5504537 on December 16, 2009, 5:26 GMT

    Mohammed Sami!!! PCB!!! From the sublime to the ridiculous! A bowler who averages 51 per wicket in test cricket after playing several games. Shocking recall and more over an absolutely atrocious selectorial decision.

    Mohammed Akram, Mohammed Zahid, Mohammed Sami. Pak's infamous trio of underachieving pacers, all with the first name Mohammed. Unfortunately for Zahid, a back injury destroyed his career and he was never the same since. Although Aamer has played only 6 tests and is on a learning curve, I fear his career is tracing the pathway created by his namesakes. Certainly his bowling average and strike rate are headed the wrong way. His greatest deficiency is the inability to bend the ball back in to right handed batsmen consistently. While this can be glossed over in shorter formats where batsmen have to go at balls leaving them, in tests they can simply choose to not play such deliveries. Hopefully Aamer will not join the growing list of failed Mohammeds.

  • testli5504537 on December 15, 2009, 21:53 GMT

    Your next blog can be a continuation of this one kamran

    Ridiculous to the sublime.... TO THE DOWNRIGHT FORTUNATE!!

    Well done on the application by the batsmen second time out though. 1-1 in Australia would be as big as winning T20 WC!

  • testli5504537 on December 15, 2009, 19:45 GMT

    It was a good work in the second innings but still need lot to be done keeping in mind next assignment in Australia & in my opinion Shoaib Malik should be left out from the touring party keeping in view his form over the past one year, should bring back Younis to fill the vacuum at #3, also bring back Afridi in test side & Faisal should bat at # 6 or 7 with Younis at #3 followed by Yousaf,Omer,Faisal,Afridi,kamran,Aamir,Gul,Asif & if you don`t need an extra batsman then Afridi can replace an opener or drop Faisal.That is the best available playing eleven in Australia as in Afridi you have an extra striking bowler in your fold.

  • testli5504537 on December 15, 2009, 17:30 GMT

    thanks to rain...that pakistan survived but there are lot positives to take from this improving batting display by the batsman...less rash shots .....and willingness to do better....anyway result of 1-1 is not bad....but they need to show more character and application in of luck to the team...

  • testli5504537 on December 15, 2009, 16:49 GMT

    Well pleased with the result but still feel Yusaf is not captncy material he doesnt give out that omff and extra presence of the likes of S AF cap or the AUS cap and his comment that we were lucky was not very well thought out coz the way the lads batted was brill.As a batsman yep Yusaf top draw but not cap'in def.

    big up to the Akmal bros well done!

    Amir great find!!and keep the faith with my fav Sho malik he will come thro Inshallah

    as far is Yunis is concearned dont need that arrogant git in the side it should be about the Love of the Country were is the respect for Green flag you play under all other issues are B...Sh..

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