January 6, 2010

Pakistan in Australia 2009-10

A glorious, yet empty victory

Brydon Coverdale

Peter Roebuck writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that Australia's remarkable win in Sydney looks on paper like one of their most glorious victories, but figures can be deceiving.

And yet there was an emptiness about it. It was as much an abject defeat for Pakistan as it was a victory for a determined home side. Had the visitors played with even a modicum of skill and sense or pursued even remotely acceptable tactics, the match could not have been lost - by no means were the Australians irresistible. Simply, Ponting and his players gave their opponents a chance to pluck defeat from the jaws of victory, an opportunity they grabbed with both hands.

In the Australian, Mike Coward argues that the Akmal brothers must shoulder much of the blame for Pakistan's predicament.

This is especially so of vice-captain and wicketkeeper Kamran, who dropped Hussey on three occasions on Tuesday and yesterday missed a regulation diving leg-side catch offered by Siddle off Mohammad Sami. Siddle was then 25 and the total at 8-350. It was another dreadful and embarrassing lapse. If Kamran was inept his younger sibling Umar was simply impetuous. Again. There is no doubt he is going to be a fine Test cricketer, but as irksome as it may be at 19 he must recognise his limits.

For the second time in the match he fell one shy of a half century when seemingly in charge. Following skipper Yousuf's demise to a spectacular if inadvertent return catch by brave Hauritz, the responsibility of winning the match fell to Umar. But at the critical moment he lost his head and endeavoured an arrogant dispatch of Doug Bollinger over mid-on only to miscue to Mitchell Johnson at mid-off. The match and series was Australia's from that point.

Greg Baum in the Age looks at the storyline of the match as a series of regrets, from both teams.

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Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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