Australia 2009-10 January 3, 2010

A day for comeback kids

It was a day to join the folklore of Pakistan cricket


Earlier versions of Mohammad Sami would have squandered the opportunity. The 2010 model was unbelievable © AFP
 

Sydney, the scene of emotional farewells to great Australian cricketers, kindly welcomed back two aspiring Pakistani bowlers to the limelight. It was a day to join the folklore of Pakistan cricket. Lord's might be the home of cricket but Sydney is the citadel, home to the mightiest power in cricket's history. It was a venue for Pakistan fans to savour.

Pakistan's success was delivered by three men, each of whom in their differing ways had fought to establish themselves in the last decade. First was Ricky Ponting, whose decision to bat was the decisive one on a cloudy, green-topped day of seam.

But the rest belonged to Messrs Asif and Sami, the comeback kids of Pakistan cricket. Asif has rarely disappointed, although this is his first great performance. Like Sami, Asif is a rare Pakistan fast bowler to rely on seam before swing. Unlike Sami, he has rarely struggled with his line. Like Asif, Sami was once the great fast bowling hope of Pakistan cricket. Unlike Asif, he rarely got it right. Earlier versions of Sami would have squandered the opportunity. The 2010 model was unbelievable, a flash of what might have been.

Can Pakistan's batsmen now turn the heroics of the comeback kids into a memorable victory?

Follow me on Twitter during the Australian tour: http://Twitter.com/KamranAbbasi

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

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