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Lawson: 'Pakistan didn't succumb meekly'

Geoff Lawson looks back on Australia's victory and why hope still floats for Pakistan (06:09)

December 30, 2009


Australia v Pakistan, 1st Test, Melbourne, 5th day

Lawson: 'Pakistan didn't succumb meekly'

December 30, 2009

Mohammad Aamer lifted Pakistan with his maiden five-wicket bag, Australia v Pakistan, 1st Test, Melbourne, 4th day, December 29, 2009
Lawson: "Mohammad Aamer was equal to anything that Australia served up" © Getty Images

Osman Samiuddin: I am joined by former coach of Pakistan Geoff Lawson. Geoff, a pretty comfortable victory for Australia, but looking at Pakistan first, what did you make of their loss?

Geoff Lawson: They started slowly and when you haven't played a lot of Test cricket and you have got to find the pace early, sometimes that is difficult, especially when you come to Australia. The Australians will come at you hard early on and Pakistan are playing against a veteran Test side. There is a gulf of experience between the two sides, but that is not Pakistan's fault, who are a victim of circumstances. But they have been periods in the game where they have been good. But you need to be good over the whole stretch of a Test to be competitive and as day five started they were still in a reasonable position.

OS: But there was still some hope at the start of day five wasn't there?

GL: They would have had to defy some cricketing history which is always a difficult thing to defy. There might have been two set batsmen at the crease but you have got to start again in the morning and Mitchell Johnson bowled a superb first over.

OS: Statistics show that Pakistan have crossed 350 just twice in their last 14 Test innings; there is talk Younis Khan coming over and he has played in six of those innings. So it is not as though there will be a miracle. Where do you see the problem with Pakistan's batting?

GL: It is just that lack of experience. You cannot replace that experience; you cannot make it up in the nets, you just have to go out and play. Hopefully Pakistan will be better in the second Test for what they have done here. They have got some things they can be positive about and some things they can improve. They can certainly field and catch a lot better. Australia now know that Mohammad Aamer can bowl them out and if it turns in Sydney and Danish Kaneria can bowl there, then Australia will be challenged more because this is an Australian side that is challengeable.

There is no doubt that the coaching staff can take some positives. Younis Khan can bring a lot to this team and its not just to do with his batting; it is to do with his enthusiasm in the field and a few overs here and there and he is a wonderful fielder as well. Sometimes he gets a bit eclectic as a leader and the players have had a problem with that. If Yousuf is the captain and Younis takes up position as a senior player I think that will be a good situation to have. Without criticising someone like Faisal Iqbal too much, he is not really a Test No.3. Pakistan need a Test No.3. If they can have Younis at No.3, all of a sudden it looks like a solid batting line-up.

OS: What did you make of Australia? They are not the Australia of old but they are a pretty tough side to beat especially at homeā€¦

GL: Absolutely. They play good tough cricket. Someone like Shane Watson is batting at the top and he has been opening only since this July. But he is a good player wherever he bats; they have some players who are just tough Test cricketers. The highlight for Australia in this Test is the way they have bowled as a team. There has been high-quality Test bowling in this match and Pakistan succumbed to that, though they didn't succumb meekly. The Australian bowlers applied the pressure in both innings in a pitch that wasn't giving much. They come at you hard and Pakistan could match that only with Aamer who was equal to anything that Australia served up.

OS: What did you make of Nathan Hauritz's performance?

GL: I have known Nathan for a long time. Nathan understands his ability. He doesn't get flustered. He knows he is not the greatest bowler to bowl in Tests. He understands what his job is in the team. He has done his job in every Test for Australia and he was rewarded today with his best every figures. He understands his limitations, he understands the mental side of the game. And he just enjoys his cricket. He doesn't worry what people are going to say about him and what is happening in the game; he bowls every ball with a plan in mind and ultimately you get rewarded for that thinking.

OS: How do you see the series, going ahead to Sydney?

GL: As long as Pakistan remain positive, they can be competitive. They have got to understand they were in this Test and they can play a lot better. I think Kaneria should be back which will make a big difference. Couple of guys will look at their dismissals and think they shouldn't have got out that way. There is a lot of improvement left in Pakistan and I am not sure here is not that much improvement left in Australia.

OS: Thanks Geoff for your views.

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