December 29, 2009

Australia 2009-10

Attitude goes a long way

Kamran Abbasi

Pakistan were under the cosh as the likes of Umar Akmal fought to resuscitate a dying innings © Getty Images

Test cricket has once again proved why it mesmerises like no other. As Shane Watson edged towards his maiden Test century and Australia's first of the summer, Pakistan tried to squeeze the life out his innings.

Adopting a bowling line wide of off stump and an 8-1 offside field, Pakistan's bowlers reduced Watson to scrambling the ten runs to his hundred, when it should have been a relentless march to seal a formidable innings. In the land of Bodyline, MoYoline was born, the greatest scheme that Mohammad Yousuf has brought to the Test arena.

Indeed, had Abdur Rauf held on at point, Watson would have fallen for 99, Mohammad Aamer would have had his sixth wicket, and MoYoline would have become unforgettable. Nonetheless, the moment that Watson clinched his century was one of those precious moments that only Test cricket can bring.

It would have been harsh for Watson to fall short again and Rauf's act of generosity was perhaps appropriate. Unfortunately, Pakistan's aspiring stock bowler is unlikely ever to be remembered for his bowling, but that drop will be replayed a million times.

Another classic Test match moment had transformed Pakistan's attitude to this match. Umar Akmal, reeling from a blow to the head from a bouncer that didn't really get up, was attempting to wrestle the advantage from Australia's bowlers. Pakistan were under the cosh as their teenagers fought to resuscitate a dying innings.

Up to then Pakistan fans had little to cheer, but in one over Akmal launched an all-out assualt on Peter Siddle, Australia's most aggressive bowler. Three fours and a six showed Pakistan's players what attitude could do, and Pakistan have never looked back.

The first two days were flat from Pakistan, but since that third morning they have competed strongly with Australia, and ultimately that is all their supporters seek. Two days later, Yousuf's team find themselves back in the match with an outside chance of victory. It is definitely an outside chance, and Australia are capable of finishing the match in the first session of the final day.

Pakistan have shown that with the right attitude they can go to Sydney with a couple of team changes and growing confidence. They must maintain this positive approach on the final day and plan for victory. That is their best hope of escaping defeat. Playing for a draw will only lead to failure. To assist them, the MCG wicket is now doing a fair impression of the Gadaffi Stadium. Pakistan have hope and an outside chance.

Can Pakistan's old hand and young buck combine to produce a famous victory?

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

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Posted by kiramatalishah on (January 14, 2010, 9:56 GMT)

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Posted by Thakur Baldev Singh Chauhan on (December 31, 2009, 5:32 GMT)

@ Long Live: Any team that has no real openers and M Amir @ 7 and M. Asif @ 8 is doomed to fail with bat at any pitch against any opposition...

Posted by Qasem on (December 31, 2009, 2:23 GMT)

Kamran: Something you'd notice about the commentators and even Oz players is they get nastier when you start competing with them. There have been so many occasions, one that sticks out in my memory is 99 world cup when pakistan veteran bowlers started reverse swinging and Tony Greg started whining in his ususal tone: "Wait a minute why is it swinging for pakistanis when it didnt swing for aussies. Umpires must do something about it". He and co. couldn't stop praising aussie bowlers for their skills with the revere swing during first innings.

Posted by Syed Jaffery on (December 31, 2009, 0:21 GMT)

In my opinion this is the most less talented Australlian side after the second string Australlian side during the Kerry Packer Circus or maybe the Kim Hughes side of early Eighties. Even with the inclusion of out of form Younis Khan and unprdictable Afridi cannot guarantee anyyhing better. Yousuf has passed his prime and Umer Akmal is no Tendulkar or Lara, rest are no hoppers. Australlia's first inning declaration shows how much Ricky Ponting admire Pakistan's batting lineup. Still I believe if somehow they include Afridi, Younis , Gul and Kaneria and they perform better fielding than their is a chance to avoid white wash. Otherwise writing is on the wall for these no hoppers.

Posted by Imran on (December 30, 2009, 22:19 GMT)

Guys parchi baaz players are in our team like Imran Farhat and faisal iqbal this two guys had been given so many chances and we all knw why both has flawed technique esp imran its so killing him to see to open our selection is the biggest enemy no one else..Can any one tell me why razzaq is not in this team he balls around same speed as of abdul rauf and no one doubt is batting ability far better then these batsman playing in this team all crazy politics and parchi thats it...

Posted by Kamran on (December 30, 2009, 21:44 GMT)

Is Abdul Rauf part of the purchii group, how did this guy manage to come in the playing 11 is beyond me. Kamran Sahib, you should write something about the biased commentary done by the commentator in the test match. I know Tony Craig is biased a-hole and he seems to change his tune away from australia. Bill Lawry is another one. But to hear one dimensional views from Ritche benaud is not only surprising but shameful. I know you need to praise Australia great effort but to hear him things like Pakistan would buckle even when they were putting up a fight does not dignify his stature. I tried to look up email address for nine network to send my warmest regard to Tony Greg but did not find it anywhere. If anyone knows please send it to me.

Posted by mislam on (December 30, 2009, 20:58 GMT)

Too much enthuasism when one new bowler bowls few good overs and get few wickets(amir) and one young batsman gets few runs in few matches. It was funny to see how many Pak supporters expected the match may go for Pak team, when the match was lost by the second day. A lead of 198 runs by australia, the most seasoned team against a bunch of very inconsistent players who has hard time to survive the first 2-3 overs when batting. This is the reality.

I have said 3-0 white wash in my earlier comments, I stand by that, may be the margin will be small. At best you can expect a draw if a pitch is dead and Kaneria can get some turn. But who is going to hold on to the catches? One drop catch at crucial time can be the cause of a lost match. It has happened time and again and I do not see any end to that.

Good luck in next two games with few new players I hope.

Posted by nasir raza dar on (December 30, 2009, 20:31 GMT)

It is pathetic display of bating on a placid MCG pitch.In my opinion until there is no check & balance you will see same kind of results & until the incompetent people siting at the helm of cricket affairs it is not possible.That should have happened after the fiasco at Dubai when on return captain resigned saying he lost control of his players & it was evident from the strokes our so called senior batsmen played over there just to ditch their captain for their own interest, but nobody bothers to ask players.That same trend continue right till MCG humiliation, can anybody ask Misbah & kamran about their strokes in second innings, in my opinion no as nobody dam care about country everybody see its own interest whether it is chairman of board, managers, coach or players.We need people who know challenges of modern cricket,get rid of these old horses & bring people like Aamir Sohail, 2Ws, Imran khan,Mohsin,Muddsaar the days of Butt,Inti,Qasim gone & 4 GOD sake send Younis & Afridi.

Posted by Long Live PakiLand! on (December 30, 2009, 19:36 GMT)

My team for sydney would be: Afridi Malik Younus Yousuf U Akmal K Akmal M Amir M Asif U Gull D Kaneria S Ajmal

This is the perfect squad and this would take out australia nicelyThis sqaud shows us that they have 7 bowlers. 4 Spinners and 3 Fast bowlers and potentially 6-7 batsmen. i think this should be the sqaud for next matches and the odi. Please tell me if u agree with me or not. i would like ur opinion.

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Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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