The experts review the action

Chappell: Target of 200 gettable for Pakistan

Ian Chappell reviews the action on day 2 at Sydney (06:50)

January 4, 2010


Australia v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Sydney, 2nd day

Chappell: Target of 200 gettable for Pakistan

January 4, 2010

Mohammad Sami is congratulated on one of his wickets, Australia v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Sydney, 1st day, January 3, 2010
Chappell: "I think a lot of credit has got to go to Mohammad Sami for knocking the top order off" © Getty Images

Osman Samiuddin: I am joined by former Australian captain Ian Chappell. Ian, Pakistan are still looking pretty good, aren't they?

Ian Chappell: It has been a really interesting Test. Ponting, about 12 or 18 months ago said he would like to see Test wickets with a bit more grass on them. Well he has got one here and it has provided a very interesting contest.

A lot of people are criticising Ponting's decision to bat first but I don't necessarily agree that it was the wrong decision. I think if Australia would have batted really well and got 250, it would have been their best way to win the game. You can't blame the captain if the guys don't bat as well as they should. I think also, since the modern player doesn't see grass on the pitch too often, when they so see it, then they get a premeditated idea that batting will be difficult. With Twenty20 and 50-over cricket now, the outlook of the average player is: let me get some runs before they get me. Ponting is a player of an era gone by where he has got the wherewithal to stay there and battle his way through, but he didn't stay; he was gone quickly. I don't agree with the criticism of Ponting's decision. It was a brave one and it could have easily gone the other way. It wasn't an incorrect decision.

OS: He was perhaps expecting some of his batsmen to struggle it out and then go on to get some runs…

IC: I think if they had got about 250 which would have required some very good batting, and then bowled well, it would have put some pressure on Pakistan.

OS: What did you make of Mohammad Asif's bowling yesterday? Pakistan were good weren't they?

IC: Yes they were. I think they have got a terrific attack for this Sydney pitch. Umar Gul is a bit down on confidence. I have seen Asif bowl at the SSC when there is a little bit there in the morning and he has made the ball talk. He didn't quite make it talk yesterday, but he was very good especially when he got into the groove. He is a lot like Glenn McGrath in a lot of ways and one in particular is when he gets into that groove he tends to stay in it.

I think a lot of credit has got to go to Mohammad Sami for knocking the top order off. Sami has got the ability but it is ridiculous that a guy who has the ability to bowl at 90mph and swing the ball out has got a bowling average of 51. That doesn't compute unless you have a lot of slips fielders who cannot catch at all. He is much better bowler than his figures show and what he showed yesterday was much better than his bowling average of 51.

OS: What did you make of the way Australia bowled? Perhaps they hit back of a length when they should have gone fuller today? Pakistan's openers played well in the first session but Australia will be disappointed they didn't get more wickets early on…

IC: Yes they will be disappointed and a bit frustrated. But I thought the way Pakistan came out to approach that short session yesterday was very good. There was a lot of purpose about their batting and there was a lot of intent. The intent wasn't all defence. They let as many go as they could but if there was something to score off, they took that opportunity. I thought the openers continued on with that today. Sure, there was a bit of playing and missing but that would happen on this surface. I thought that was a blueprint for the openers to play pretty much like, all the time they play. There was so much more determination and purpose about their batting and they set the platform.

And then you think from an Australian bowling perspective, you use up so much energy getting the openers out, it makes it easier for the middle order. Pakistan have some strokeplayers there who have taken advantage. Pakistan might feel disappointed that they had a lot of guys who had starts but didn't go on. But making a hundred in the first innings will take some doing. You might make one in the second innings when the sun is out and the pitch dies a little.

OS: Pakistan haven't been as ruthless as lot of Pakistan as a lot of fans would have hoped, but do you see a way back for Australia in this Test?

IC: It is going to be difficult for Australia and they will have to play extremely well. They are a couple of hundred behind, so they will have to make about 400 to give Pakistan 200 to get. That could be tough to pitch but you have to consider that it might not be a fifth-day pitch. Pakistan are probably going to be batting on the fourth day. Sydney always spins but Australia have only one spinner, so 200, as long as Pakistan don't panic is very gettable.

OS: The only thing that can go against Pakistan is that they have lost about 10 in a row against Australia now and it could become a mental thing for them. But they have a few young players who haven't lost to Australia before …

IC: There is something about knowing how to win. That's the one advantage Australia have over Pakistan. Australia have got some players who have been involved in victories - Ponting is they key because he has been involved in a hell of a lot of victories. So they do know how to win if they can get into a position where there is a chance for victory. Pakistan don't have players with that sort of knowledge. That is the one thing that Australia will be clinging to.

OS: Thanks Ian for your views.

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