Pakistan v Australia, 1st MCC Spirit of Cricket Test, Lord's, 4th day July 16, 2010

Ponting's inspired change, Afridi's brainless slog


Worry of the day
Under the morning clouds, Ben Hilfenhaus looked the man most likely to strike for Australia and he finally did, when Azhar Ali edged behind. But in the very next over, there was a sharp intake of breath from Australian fans when Hilfenhaus, fielding at deep square leg, dived to save a boundary and struggled to get up, clearly in pain. Hilfenhaus appeared to jar his left shoulder and a couple of minutes went by as he hunched over and was checked on by the captain and physio. Hilfenhaus stayed on and bowled the next over, but after that left the field for some treatment. All was well, though, and he returned after a few overs although he will be watched closely ahead of the second Test.

Elbow of the day, revisited
Ricky Ponting's elbow was the subject of much debate on the first day, when he and Mohammad Aamer clashed after Ponting was caught at short leg. It resulted in an unofficial warning for the bowler, who had also crashed with Michael Clarke in the second Twenty20 at Edgbaston, although plenty of onlookers felt Ponting was more at fault for raising his elbow. "I was just a bit surprised," Ponting said. "It was more of a reaction thing from me that he was where he was. I had sort of turned my back to look where the ball was going and the bloke caught it. As I went to turn around there was someone immediately in what I feel is my space. It's not the first time it's happened, either, as we saw in the Twenty20 game with Michael." When asked if he thought Aamer was aware of running close to the batsman, Ponting's reply was blunt: "I think he was looking at me, wasn't he?"

Change of the day No. 1
Salman Butt loomed as the man most likely to inspire an incredible victory, and he progressed with ease towards a century. But when Ricky Ponting handed the ball to Marcus North ahead of Steven Smith, due to the presence of two left-handers at the crease, the part-time offspinner struck with his first delivery. It wasn't exactly a conventional wicket - a leg-side stumping thanks to wonderfully sharp work from Tim Paine - and Butt was distraught at his mistake. It looked like a masterstroke from Ponting, and it was even more so when North went on to earn a place on the honours board with a six-wicket haul, givin him the best figures ever by an Australian spinner in a Test innings at Lord's.

Change of the day No. 2
Intermittent light rain sprinkled down in the first session but when it became a bit heavier, the umpires were quick to call for the covers. The groundstaff were caught off guard, and by the time they'd removed the boundary boards and got the hover-cover halfway to the pitch, the rain had cleared. The umpires called the players back on, although the Australians hadn't even had time to get off the field. As weather forecasters, Ian Gould and Rudi Koertzen make good umpires.

Sleepy moment of the day
Everyone watching at the ground enjoyed seeing Umar Akmal launch the first six of the innings. Well, almost everyone. The lofted drive to long-on cleared the boundary and landed on the hover-cover, a few metres from one of the groundstaff. But he didn't get up and collect the ball for a simple reason: he was asleep. The TV cameras caught the man still apparently dozing while one of his colleagues grabbed the ball and tossed it back onto the field. Long-on is a dangerous place when Umar Akmal is batting, and when a four bounced over the fence shortly afterwards, the man had woken from his slumber.

Silly, silly mid off of the day
For three deliveries in the hour before lunch Simon Katich squatted at 45 degrees in front of Umar Amin in a position which virtually ran parallel to the pitch. It seemed more confounding considering it was set for Shane Watson, not the most express fast bowler in the Australian team. Amin duly took advantage of the large empty space in the cover region to pick three easy fours, thereby forcing Ricky Ponting to abandon a silly move.

Boom boom, crash, crash of the day
Why does Shahid Afridi come out to bat? After his 15-minute mayhem in the first innings which ended with suicidal shot selection, Pakistan's captain had a good chance to redeem himself today. Instead, three balls into his second innings he once again went for the long handle against Marcus North, offering a simple catch in the deep. Even by Afridi's standards it was ridiculous to say the least.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jason on July 19, 2010, 17:57 GMT

    I think Pakistan selecting a known cheat as their captain pretty much sums up everything. The administrators got what they deserved. Now he demonstrates that he's not only a cheat but a coward as well. And that's the best Pakistan has? What an embarrassment. Good work from Ricky Ponting as well. If even a couple of the Pakistan players had even half the determination, self-respect and respect for the game that Ponting has they might even be a side you could admire. But, at the moment, they don't even deserve pity.

  • Syed on July 18, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    I believe Pakistan are young side, I believe their selection is not good Yet let me make it clear "hindh88" They willl do very best in upcoming ODI's against Austarlia & England. Remember my words I have seen your comment on 2 different places saying that are good only in T20. But I believe in my words. I even expect far better performance in upcoming tests if they make little change in middle order.

  • alya on July 17, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    ponting did a cheap act and it shows his malicious approach.When Amir did wrong accidently he apologized but this time, Ponting was wrong and he deserved this.Ponting should have been reprimanded instead of Amir.Thanks to Afridi for a great decision but he should have announced retirement after second match

  • Paul on July 16, 2010, 23:33 GMT

    I always compare the career of Afridi with that of Andrew Symonds. Both outrageously talented allround cricketers with an aggressive streak which dominates their batting. Both given early opportunities at international level which they failed to capitalise on. Both worked hard enough to get recalls and establish themselves in the shorter forms of the game. Symonds managed to subdue his instincts enough to become Australia's most consistent Test batsman until his off-fields exploits got him dropped - for the last 18 months of his Test career he only scored one (maybe two) single figure scores. Does that sound like the slogger he once was? Surely someone can grab Afridi and say "You can do the same". I hope so - Test cricket needs exciting cricketers like Boom Boom.

  • Dre on July 16, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    Sigh...whatever Ricky...will never be a name in the book of world's nicest celebs but hey...can't fault his leadership though, believe it or not, he's growing as a captain and finding new ways to win and the worst thing Aus would have done for themselves was to sack him after their Ashes loss.

  • Lou on July 16, 2010, 20:42 GMT

    That stumping by Paine (an excellent piece of work) was the turning point as apart from a couple of close shaves with LBWs from Hilfenhaus, Butt had looked as solid as a rock.

    He's a good player, especially when the bowlers feed him juicy off-side rubbish. He needs support badly. It's a shame we didn't get to see the best of Umar Akmal.

  • Srijith on July 16, 2010, 19:56 GMT

    haha, finally! Afridi has the mental make up and maturity of a 13 yr old. he thinks that the whole game revolves around him and that he's indispensable. he's not. Pakistan cricket will be better served without him around.

  • Manasvi on July 16, 2010, 17:28 GMT

    Afridi's slog wasn't ridiculous. Considering that he is primarily a T20 and ODI player and that's the way he bats, there will always be an element of risk.

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2010, 15:19 GMT

    "Afridis brainless slog" ...perfect wording...,this is not he first time time we are seeing such a slog from him....he has been around for almost 13 years still he is not showing any maturity in temparament when it comes to test cricket...He simply tries to hit every ball out of the ground...if he can overcome this reckless attittude he can really change the course of the game even in test cricket....but he has taken a right decision to retire from test cricket...atleast he can concentrate well on ODIS and t20 .....

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2010, 15:11 GMT

    Cricket will b boring without AFridi!!! WE NEED U!!!

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