Pakistan v Australia, 1st MCC Spirit of Cricket Test, Lord's, 3rd day July 15, 2010

Australia confident of stopping Pakistan


Two summers ago in Perth, South Africa changed Australia's perception about gettable fourth-innings targets. When Graeme Smith's men cruised to 414 with four wickets down, it seemed that no aim was out of reach anymore, provided the pitch was true and the batting strong. Fast forward 18 months and the Lord's surface is excellent, but Australia remain confident that Pakistan's batting group boasts no JP Duminy or AB de Villiers clones.

Pakistan will enter what will likely be the final day full of hope, needing 326 with nine wickets in hand and two batsmen well set, although Azhar Ali survived a perilously close lbw shout on the final ball of the day. Much will depend on the weather - when the clouds disappeared on the third day so did the swing - but given Pakistan's first-innings capitulation for 148, Australia are certain they can complete their task, even under sunny skies.

"We've got plenty of runs on the board," the wicketkeeper Tim Paine said. "Right up until the last ball tonight we showed that we're going to be creating chances. If we bowl well there's enough there for us to keep them under pressure and create those chances to win the game. If we can get a couple of early wickets tomorrow and get stuck in to their middle and lower order, as we showed in the first innings if we put them under pressure we can take wickets pretty quickly."

While Pakistan will rely heavily on Salman Butt, who has been their most composed batsman in the Test, their two debutants Umar Amin and Azhar will be keen to make a name for themselves. In Perth, Australia were surprised by the poise of a newcomer, Duminy, and the similarities don't end there.

Back then, Australia's bowling group featured a highly attacking spinner who leaked runs as he tossed the ball up to entice drives. Jason Krejza is gone from the side but in his place is Steven Smith, who is equally aggressive, and collected his first Test wicket when Imran Farhat pulled a long hop straight to midwicket.

However, Smith's first spell of Test bowling was far from poor; he aimed at the footmarks outside the left-hander's off stump and gave the ball plenty of opportunity to spin. "For his first Test match there's a lot to like," Shane Warne said from the commentary box, and Smith's fellow debutant Paine expects the spinner to play a key role on the fourth day.

"He looked really good," Paine said. "He started very well. As his spell got on, he got more dangerous. When he went around the wicket he started to spin a few quite a long way. He'll definitely play a role at some stage tomorrow. I think early tomorrow if our pace attack get those early breakthroughs, I'm sure Smithy will cause the lower and middle order some trouble later on."

But the work begins with the seamers in the first session. And if there are clouds in the sky, there may be no silver lining for Pakistan.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2010, 14:42 GMT

    Hats off writer you are the human "PAUL" , wat u wrote is 100% .. Match ended in the 4th day itself. The secret of success of cricinfo is not only its quality writers but also the predictors inside the writers.Gr8 team.Actually i became an avid fan of crciket just bcos of u guys !!!!!!!!!!!1 Hats off team , keep the good work going. Special hatsoff to Mr.Paul (The writer)

  • Asad on July 16, 2010, 14:01 GMT

    How true it rings when an Aussie can claim "we have runs" in a match versus Pakistan. No matter how little an Aussie score can seem to be, the Pakistanis can always be relied upon to score far lesser. Even if the Aussies score just about 150 they can expect that Pakis will scorre about 50 -75 only.

  • cric on July 16, 2010, 12:57 GMT

    While the recent pak teams have forgotten my expertise,skills gained, its time for more patience (no other go)

    Negatives Trailing 1st innings by 100+ runs Leaking 130 runs for the tail enders and increasing target Afridi and Umar Akmals irresponsible innings Giving North 4 wickets while very well faced fast bowlers

    Positives Good characters shown by Salman, Azhar and fast Bowlers Afridi leadership

    Real lessons learned Replace Farhat and open with Yasir and Kaneria with Malik Azhar Ali can be tried no.3 for few more times Don't ever try to change Afridi's captaincy fooled by Salman's good batting

    Finally this the better output than the past team underAfridi.

  • Peter on July 16, 2010, 12:32 GMT

    i think this correction has done been done to bits guys, let's get back to the game, which, I believe is panning out to be the last day so everything stated to date would appear moot. It looks like it may not last till tea!

  • Lahiru on July 16, 2010, 10:40 GMT

    Ausis will surely get the treatment from Pakistan which they got from South Africans last time... They are such a bunch of over confidence fools..

  • Akhthar on July 16, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    Having gone through the comments here, I think the writer indeed wrote those mistakes and he was "smart" enough to make the corrections without mentioning about the same. I noticed that one of the commenters had already put the "pasted word" in his comment so there's no need to correct those who commented earlier. All Izz well now..

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    pakistan will win .ausies ki gand mein danda.

  • CSKFAN on July 16, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    Hey hey hey....just leave this topic of Final day,bla bla bla ... lets talk about the batting...Aussie tail enders,scored many runs in second innings means,the pitch is good for batting in final sessions.. So thats why pakistan batsmen survives in the evening on third day.. The real test is first & second sessions in fourth day morning..if they able to survive,then pakistan has a chance to hold things.....can they??

  • Jawed on July 16, 2010, 6:48 GMT

    Pakistan isn't a team to whom cloud lines would matter a lot, it will all about how Pakistan bat instead how Aussie bowls as Pakistan know that they have probably lost this and hence will not be under much pressure. " Astonishingly they fell to Watson then other much better bowler under cloud!!! "

  • Mark on July 16, 2010, 6:11 GMT

    To quote Snork: "drop North and bat Smith at six and bring in either Tait or Hauritz as an extra bowling option" What flavor of cordial have you been drinking?! Do recall that Smith is a debutant all-rounder who scored 0 and 12. Yes North has been in a poor patch but playing with five batsmen, after that first innings middle-order collapse, sounds a little rash to me. Consider Marsh at six, but leave Smith at eight. I know it's terrible to use the Warne comparison but I am so hopeful that he becomes a quality leggie. Hauritz seemsa good bloke but boy, talk about unexciting watching.

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