Pakistan v Australia, 1st Test, Lord's, 1st day July 13, 2010

Ponting fails to lord it and gives the elbow

Leg before bowled
There wasn't much doubt that Shane Watson was out in the fifth over, but there was a little confusion about how the scorebook would read. When Watson shouldered arms to Mohammad Aamer, the ball lobbed up off his pad and trickled back to knock one of the bails off, but the ball travelled so slowly that the umpire Ian Gould had already raised his finger to Aamer's lbw appeal. It's not the first time such an incident has occurred in Test cricket. At Trent Bridge in 1950, Sonny Ramadhin bowled Doug Insole off his pads, but the umpire Frank Chester insisted the dismissal go down as lbw, as he had raised his finger before the stumps were broken. The laws of cricket were soon changed to dictate that bowled always takes precedence over other forms of dismissal.

Ponting second best among Lord's letdowns
With a nondescript nudged single to midwicket, Ricky Ponting moved past Brian Lara to become the second highest run scorer in Test history. It was Ponting's last run for the innings, as he was out in the same over and was left on 11,954 Test runs, ahead of Lara on 11,953 but well behind Sachin Tendulkar on 13,447. Incredibly, considering the trio has a combined aggregate of more than 35,000 Test runs, none of the three have managed to earn a place on the Lord's honour board. Even more remarkably, Lara's 54 against England in 1995 is the best score any of the men have managed in a combined 11 Tests at the home of cricket.

No elbow room
Ponting and Aamer came close to a visit to the match referee after they clashed when Aamer had Ponting caught at short leg. In his follow through, Aamer ran close to Ponting, who moved his elbow slightly and made contact with the bowler, and it was not the first time Aamer has clashed with an Australian batsman on this tour. During the second Twenty20 at Edgbaston, Aamer leapt high into the air to celebrate bowling Michael Clarke, but misjudged his jump and crashed into the batsman. On that occasion, the players were all smiles as Aamer apologised and the pair shared a pat on the back.

IPL's shadow looms large
"Bell ringer for today is Justin Langer," was the message on the electronic boards across Lord's. Nothing unusual there, except that the laconic Australian stared intensely at the bell for a moment as if it was some sacred object and touching it would reduce its veneer. Thankfully he did not take a step back. But what was really out of place was the name of one of the teams, listed in the following line, that Langer represented through his career: "Australia, Middlesex, Rajasthan Royals, Somerset, Western Australia." Langer had played just one IPL match for Rajasthan, and considering his strong allegiance for his home state of Western Australia, one would've expected his home state to be ranked behind his national squad. The English sentiment towards the IPL is indifferent but MCC seems to have an affinity for the richest cricket league.

Failing to see the light
If the ICC wants to encourage more fans to Test cricket, going off for bad light at 1.50 in the afternoon is not a good move. But the umpires were convinced that conditions were gloomy enough to warrant a break in play, much to the annoyance of fans who had paid at least £30 per ticket. Even more frustrating for the spectators, the Lord's floodlights could not be turned on as Pakistan, the host team, decided it would create inconsistency as the venue for the second Test, Headingley, has no lights. How the one affects the other is anyone's guess, but fortunately on this occasion play resumed after 12 minutes. At least another anachronism of Test cricket was done away with: the once immovable lunch break was pushed back by half an hour due to a 90-minute weather delay at the start of play.

No debut nerves
Pure reflex. Aamer had been cleverly working out Ponting immediately after lunch by changing angles, lengths and using the seam cleverly to keep the batsman guessing. He then smartly placed a short leg in Umar Amin, knowing the Australian captain's tendency to push to the leg side trying to ward the delivery swinging into him. Amin, one of the two Pakistan debutants, had watched the ball drop in front of him just before the bad-light delay. But Ponting was feeling the pressure as Aamer remained stubborn and when the Pakistani speedster once again dipped it in, Ponting played it awkwardly towards Amin. It was a spectacular pouch considering it was only his first Test and the nerves could have easily gripped him, but Amin remained stable. His stance was perfect: standing on the balls of the feet, sitting on the haunches, his head was relaxed and this right balance allowed him to see the ball coming into his paws and he clasped the ball safely without any fuss.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo and Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor

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