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?

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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 January 6, 2010, 8:42 GMT

    There are several things that went wrong for Pakistan in this match but above all they lost it in the head. Most of the comments here seem to harp on selection issues bypassing the main issue which is that the team is unsuited for test cricket. Time and again players show their T20 and ODI attitude by trying to blast their way when the going gets tough instead of trying to consolidate and wear out the bowlers. It is all deja vu alas!

  • testli5504537 on January 6, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    Man of the match was definately Kamran Akmal. Go Aussies !

  • testli5504537 on January 5, 2010, 17:55 GMT

    Kamran Akmal as a wicketkeeper for spinners has always been inept and accident prone but today he got even worse when he had the ball in his hand and forgot to knock the bails off! He has single handedly blighted Kanaria's career over the years. What's worse he stands there grinning! If this match gets away from Pakistan then he is the man responsible. Remember his shot selection when batting in the last Test.

  • testli5504537 on January 5, 2010, 14:50 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi and Osman Samiuddin: Could you write why Pakistan Can not find another wicket keeper. The keeper dropped Hussay 2/3 times in the 2nd test at very crucial time. Two of those were simple catches. One occassion he was not looking at the ball after it hit his hand and dropped, rather he was looking at the batsman.

    In the run out chance, he had the ball thrown to him but did not care to remove the bells. What was he thinking? I have never seen this.

    I think this guy has serious problem more like the problems with the selectors. Why can't they find out a replacement? Your comments with data and analysis. He is not only missing chances for the team, he is destroying bowlers records and confidence.Thanks.

  • testli5504537 on January 4, 2010, 15:50 GMT

    kamran bhai as far as crickting knowledge is concerned every one knows that it is hard to perform in asia rather then in australia. in asia pitches do not favour fast bowling sir they are flater and like sleeping beauties n if a bowler perform thier then it is a great achivement for him. former pak greats bowl beautifuly in asia because they have pace which help them in getting reverse swing but asif is nt so pacy thenever he performed so wel then u must appreciate his performances .

  • testli5504537 on January 4, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    Full marks to you Kamran for backing Sami above Rauf!

  • testli5504537 on January 4, 2010, 8:14 GMT

    I think Pakistan lost a great chance to get a unreachable lead in the 1st inning. Batsmen should have played thinking in mind that there are still 3 more days to go and should have targeted an inning defeat for Australia. I think there is still chance for Pakistan to wrap up the win within 3 days... Great performance...

  • testli5504537 on January 4, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    Australia has a fixed strategy.In every match they try and gain the upper hand in the first hour.Opposition teams are put under tremendous pressure.If they win the toss they bat and then pile up enough runs quickly and make the declaration timely to give their bowlers ample time to take the remaining 10 wickets.If they are made to field they are aggressive from the word go and create pressure for the batsmen with their terrific bowling and then more than average fielding .They don't miss chances at the slips.That in my opinion is why they win so any matches.But its a predictable strategy and if anything goes wrong the whole house crumbles as they cannot play when the pressure is being applied to them.Give them a mooving ball and that's it. The batsmen fall like dominos one after another.Now lets see if Pak has enough courage to make a timely declaration and get through the second innings like the first.I hope so.Its been a pleasure watching Pak bowlers who are legends in themselves!!

  • testli5504537 on January 4, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    well done to asif and sami, it could have been worse for us aussies too if yousuf bought sami back on in the last session instead of the out of form gul!

  • testli5504537 on January 4, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Great bowling by Sami and asif.Pak need an allrounder like afridi or abdulRazzaq in the squad.

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