|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
July 14, 2010
Afridi not afraid-i
Shahid Afridi walked to the crease for his first Test innings in nearly four years with Shane Watson sitting on the imposing figures of 2 for 0 from seven deliveries. But instead of going block-block, Boom Boom went bang-bang. Second ball, Afridi nonchalantly flicked a boundary over midwicket and followed with another four and a six. It was much the same in the next over, including a six over long-off, but Watson had the last laugh when Afridi was caught at mid-on trying to clear the infield again. It left Watson with the Twenty20-like figures of 3 for 30 from three overs, including a maiden, while Afridi departed with 31 from 15 balls in a 15-minute cameo. "That's probably the only way he knows how to play," Watson said. "That's the reason people love him but also people can get a little bit frustrated with him at times. I had no answers for a couple of overs. Every time I bowled a ball that I felt came out well he just hit it for four or six."
This is the first time three Tasmanians have played in the Test team together, and they were in the thick of the action early on the second day. Ben Hilfenhaus started from the Pavilion End but was soon swung around to the Nursery End, and with his first delivery from that side he drew an edge behind from Imran Farhat. Tim Paine comfortably pouched the ball to register his first Test catch. Oh, and it was Ricky Ponting who switched Hilfenhaus to the Nursery End, where the slope worked in his favour.
Don't come in, spinner
There was considerable interest in how Steven Smith would bowl at Test level, but we'll have to wait until the second innings to find out. Such was the swing in the air and the success of Australia's pace attack that Ponting didn't require a single over of spin, as Pakistan were bundled out in the 41st over of their innings. Smith did manage a contribution in the field, though, when he stood at third slip and snaffled his first Test catch. It was the final wicket of the innings, which handed Watson a five-wicket haul.
Bollinger bubbles with enthusiasm
Doug Bollinger always charges in at full speed during his run-up, but he took his commitment to new levels with a chase off his own bowling. Danish Kaneria clipped the ball wide of the short-leg Simon Katich but there was nobody else in the vicinity, so Bollinger hared off (or should that be haired?) to haul the ball in himself. There's never a dull moment with Doug, and his ungraceful and unnecessary slide several metres inside the boundary, which the ball wouldn't have reached anyway, brought cheers from the crowd. He was left red-faced and puffing, but the tea break soon arrived and he had a chance to cool down.
Johnson banishes Lord's hoodoo
Lord's was the venue where Mitchell Johnson suffered an Ashes meltdown last year, at times struggling to land the ball on the pitch, but he exorcised some of those demons today. Johnson finished with figures of 1 for 31, but it didn't reflect his accuracy and the danger he posed to the batsmen. "He bowled beautifully today," Watson said. "You could see him working over the batsmen every single over. To see the control that he showed today, it was pretty special. He swung a few balls as well, when he got it absolutely perfectly. Just the way he was able to work over the batsmen with his bouncers, with his control of length and line, was pretty special to see. I got one of the best seats in the house fielding at first slip."
|Comments have now been closed for this article
Both batsmen seemingly have buckets of talent at their disposal and the backing of their captains, but soft dismissals relentlessly follow both around the Test arena
After the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death, this match showed that cricket and life will continue to go on. This time Test cricket dug in and got through to tea.
Josh Hazlewood has been on Australian cricket's radar since he was a teenager. The player that made a Test debut at the Gabba was a much-improved version of the tearaway from 2010
The new stand-in captain has the makings of a long-term leader, given his ability to stay ahead of the game
The failed gamble of handing Karn Sharma a Test debut despite him having a moderate first-class record means India have to rethink who their spinner will be
Turning your back on a system that the whole cricketing world wants a discussion on, refusing to discuss it because it is not 100%, is not good enough
After a long time we have seen an Indian team and captain enjoy the challenge of trying to overcome stronger opposition in an overseas Test