Pak v Aus, 2nd MCC Spirit of Cricket Test, Headingley, 1st day July 21, 2010

'It's easy for us to panic a bit' - Nielsen

24

Panic is not a word that's thrown around lightly within the Australian set-up. At least, not when they're talking about themselves. But the coach Tim Nielsen has conceded the Australian bowlers might have lost their nerve after their batting colleagues collapsed for 88 under overcast skies at Headingley.

When Ricky Ponting won the toss and chose to bat, the bowlers certainly weren't expecting to have the ball in their hands just after 2pm, and they didn't quite know how to attack the situation. Doug Bollinger and Mitchell Johnson failed to find much swing and Ben Hilfenhaus attacked the leg stump of Salman Butt too much. Before they knew it Pakistan's openers had 35 from six overs.

"You get bowled out for 88, you think we've got to bowl the miracle ball every ball and try to bowl these blokes out in ten overs if we're going to have any chance," Nielsen said. "We bowled a few to their strengths, they got away from us a little bit and all of a sudden you're chasing your tail, the first five overs go for 30 or 40 and they're halfway to us. It's easy for us to panic a bit."

Nielsen is the man the Australians call on to front the media on their most difficult days, when the players are reluctant to answer questions, and he even prefaced his comments with: "You know it's been an ordinary day if I'm sitting here." But despite the way the Australians struggled to handle the pressure, Nielsen insisted it was not a major concern in the lead-up to an Ashes series.

"It's not a worry," he said. "I'd prefer we're exposed to these experiences now than the first time it happens it happens in an Ashes series that everyone is going to be focusing on. We have a couple of young blokes playing in their second Test match, we've got a young bowling attack ... it's exciting for them to be exposed to this sort of pressure and understand that Test match cricket is not easy."

He was especially pleased with the way Hilfenhaus fought back after tea to find the right line and pick up the key wicket of Butt. Full, swinging deliveries were just as difficult for the Pakistan top order to handle as the Australian batsmen, and Nielsen did not have harsh words for his own batting group despite Australia falling to their lowest Test total since 1984.

"We had four or five lbws and there weren't too many of those that were big slogs as such, they just got beaten by the swinging ball," Nielsen said. "At the end of the innings we were conscious of trying to be positive and get as many runs as we could."

The memory of the Sydney Test in January, when Pakistan lost after taking a 206-run first-innings lead, has given the Australians hope that they can dig their way out of such a hole again. Their best-case scenario is to skittle Pakistan quickly on the second day - they do have a long tail and are three down already - and if Australia can manage that, anything is possible.

"I know we're 50 or 60 behind but at least we're a chance," Nielsen said. "If we can have a good morning tomorrow and take a couple of wickets and not let the scoreboard get out of control we're still a chance in the game."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shaantanu on July 22, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    any other team would have been resigned to their fate had they got out for 88.but not australia(maybe pakistans capitulation at SCG gives the aussies a bit of confidence).......however this australian team does not carry forward the legacy left behind by their predecessors.my money is on pakistan this time.this comes from an indian.....pakistan needs to break this trend of losses.

  • 1_234 on July 22, 2010, 9:31 GMT

    we should keep in mind that: Australia comes very hard out of these situations And Pakistan has habit of throwing away the advantage they get.

  • ihaq1 on July 22, 2010, 9:03 GMT

    i think the australian bowling coach a burly moustachioed character is to blame who obviously wont know much about swing bowling...hilfenhaus bowls quite straight and for swing to really work u must widen teh angles...johnston and bollinger fast left armers probably want their natural deliveries to work on teh softer seaming english pitches...they need to reduce speed and bowl it up and put something on the bowl when they deliver it...polishing one side is also essential...

  • Badreshian on July 22, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    I think the team management (Pak) need to sit with the 4 remaining batsmen the akmals, shoaib and U Amin, that Pakistan only need 50 runs from each of you and we inshallah will be winner. The bowling and the fielding in the second innings must be forgotton at the moment and at least add 200 to the current total and who know might be more than this... I feel extremely sorry to say that it is our batting and to some extent that has let us down in every match. I hope and pray this time the remaininig guys could concentrate and post a total that doesn't require second batting for Pakistan. Seriously, if these batsmen don't have the techniques and patients to play test cricket then they should be kicked off as please bring guys like Asim Kamal etc; I hope he is still playing.....

    Any ways as always Good luck to the Green shirts....

  • nauman421 on July 22, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    @Tahir_khan: LOL at "other wise he must sit out so he can learn".......untill now i used to think that one can only learn if he plays. This is a new leeson by some utterly pessimistic way! Instead of applauding what is a great performance, you are nothing but cursing bro....

  • on July 22, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    No chance now, we're winning this one mates.

  • cricket_ftw on July 22, 2010, 6:48 GMT

    bring steve bucknor ... Ausssies can still win this match if bucknor does the umpiring..

  • on July 22, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    It'd be alot better for Pakistanis to keep their nerves! bring the lead to atleast 200, it'd be tough for them than!

  • jonesy2 on July 22, 2010, 6:19 GMT

    Aj Mal makes a very decent point

  • umarsps on July 22, 2010, 6:16 GMT

    After 13 consecutive test there should be at least one test for Pakistan. It is not very big deal.

  • shaantanu on July 22, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    any other team would have been resigned to their fate had they got out for 88.but not australia(maybe pakistans capitulation at SCG gives the aussies a bit of confidence).......however this australian team does not carry forward the legacy left behind by their predecessors.my money is on pakistan this time.this comes from an indian.....pakistan needs to break this trend of losses.

  • 1_234 on July 22, 2010, 9:31 GMT

    we should keep in mind that: Australia comes very hard out of these situations And Pakistan has habit of throwing away the advantage they get.

  • ihaq1 on July 22, 2010, 9:03 GMT

    i think the australian bowling coach a burly moustachioed character is to blame who obviously wont know much about swing bowling...hilfenhaus bowls quite straight and for swing to really work u must widen teh angles...johnston and bollinger fast left armers probably want their natural deliveries to work on teh softer seaming english pitches...they need to reduce speed and bowl it up and put something on the bowl when they deliver it...polishing one side is also essential...

  • Badreshian on July 22, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    I think the team management (Pak) need to sit with the 4 remaining batsmen the akmals, shoaib and U Amin, that Pakistan only need 50 runs from each of you and we inshallah will be winner. The bowling and the fielding in the second innings must be forgotton at the moment and at least add 200 to the current total and who know might be more than this... I feel extremely sorry to say that it is our batting and to some extent that has let us down in every match. I hope and pray this time the remaininig guys could concentrate and post a total that doesn't require second batting for Pakistan. Seriously, if these batsmen don't have the techniques and patients to play test cricket then they should be kicked off as please bring guys like Asim Kamal etc; I hope he is still playing.....

    Any ways as always Good luck to the Green shirts....

  • nauman421 on July 22, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    @Tahir_khan: LOL at "other wise he must sit out so he can learn".......untill now i used to think that one can only learn if he plays. This is a new leeson by some utterly pessimistic way! Instead of applauding what is a great performance, you are nothing but cursing bro....

  • on July 22, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    No chance now, we're winning this one mates.

  • cricket_ftw on July 22, 2010, 6:48 GMT

    bring steve bucknor ... Ausssies can still win this match if bucknor does the umpiring..

  • on July 22, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    It'd be alot better for Pakistanis to keep their nerves! bring the lead to atleast 200, it'd be tough for them than!

  • jonesy2 on July 22, 2010, 6:19 GMT

    Aj Mal makes a very decent point

  • umarsps on July 22, 2010, 6:16 GMT

    After 13 consecutive test there should be at least one test for Pakistan. It is not very big deal.

  • Woody111 on July 22, 2010, 5:52 GMT

    Good work by Nielsen. No panic in his words. Even though he seemed a bit resigned to a loss he didn't discount their chances entirely. 2nd innings runs count for a lot now - for time as well. Pakistan's batting is their weakness. If Aus can roll through them they can always make 400 in the 2nd dig. Anything over 150 for Pak to chase is doable from an Aus point of view.

  • thematrix on July 22, 2010, 4:52 GMT

    Mr nielsen its too late for ur team to Back in the game.i think Australia gona loose by an innings.mr nielsen just releasing the pressure from aus team in the press confrence.

  • SyedArbabAhmed on July 22, 2010, 4:44 GMT

    Pakistan lost after taking a 206-run as recently as you get, so you can expect it again from the Pakistani team, as they are very bad chasers specially in Test matches.

  • on July 22, 2010, 4:17 GMT

    no such luck for the Aussies this time boys!

  • catalyst213 on July 22, 2010, 3:01 GMT

    Its a very good Test match, well bowled Pakistan and one thing for sure Australia will not die wondering. Great entertainment for any fans and with Ashes looming over the heads im sure the Poms are keeping a close eye on this match.

  • TEST_CRICKET_ONLY on July 22, 2010, 2:20 GMT

    No Tim, the problem is the bowling "attack" is pedestrian at best. All of this makes Ponting's claims of rebuilding a strong team look quite stupid.

  • Tahir_Khan on July 22, 2010, 1:56 GMT

    Performances like Sydney, Lords and this test from the bowlers will be usesless until they are backed up by the batsmen and fielding.Fielding seems to have improved but batting is as poor as it has always been in the recent history.After winning Sydney Aussies feel they can beat Pakistan from any position, and looks Pki team feels the same they cant beat the Aussies no matter how good is their position.Pakistan lacks batsmen who can play long test match innings, first three batsmen gone, I dont ve much hopes from the next few. Look at Umar Akmal he still plays test cricket as if it is 20 20.Frankly board needs to tell him, he needs to play test matches like tests other wise he must sit out so he can learn, it has been quite some time since he made a use full contribution with his bat in a test, same with his brother and Malik, tale must wag from Pakistan other wise I am afarid we will be cursing this team again as one with no plans no direction and gut less with bat. I am still nervous

  • whippersnapper on July 22, 2010, 1:12 GMT

    There's always a chance. Especially if it's Australia that's up that well known creek. If there's any team to get out of the mire it's them.

  • on July 22, 2010, 1:01 GMT

    Brazil in Soccer is like Australia in Cricket. Australia/Brazil almost always have the control of the game so they never panic. But when they go to the unchartered territory like falling behind against Holland or getting out on 88, they dont know how to handle this unless Opposition makes stupid mistakes, like what USA did against Brazil in South Africa in the confederation Cup. Brazil was behind 0-2 against USA but eventually wont the game 3-2. But Brazil couldn't win against Holland. So we will see whether Pakistan can be USA or Holland against Australia.

  • MinusZero on July 22, 2010, 0:10 GMT

    I think the batting order needs a clean out and has needed it for years. Feeding new players gradually isn't working. Australia will get hit in a few years like the West Indies did where their stars retired all at once. Katich is the only player deserving his spot, Clarke maybe. Ponting is on the decline and has been for a while, North isnt performing, Hussey is so-so and Watson is not a test batsman, definitely not an opener (1 century in 34 innings proves that). They should bite the bullet and suffer a few years of being beaten to come out better at the other end of the tunnel. Katich is 34 and Hussey and Ponting are 35, the decline is nearer than the selectors admit.

  • RAVI_BOPARA on July 21, 2010, 23:39 GMT

    `PANIC` WILL BE COMMON FROM NOW ON FOR AUSTRALIA... THE AUSSIES WILL BE PANICKING COME THE ASHES!!!

  • on July 21, 2010, 22:22 GMT

    Too Horrible! So much shocked about my Favorite team's performance! :-(

  • ygkd on July 21, 2010, 22:20 GMT

    Here was Steve Smith's golden opportunity to show he could graft that 40-odd under pressure and he failed to do it. Instead we saw 2 boundaries and he goes out. There are too many young players now who are incapable of playing in anything other than top gear. Bolstering the batting order with him did not work. As for the more senior bats, if they can't play the swinging ball, Australia do not deserve the pretensions of reclaiming top team status.

  • Scgboy on July 21, 2010, 21:29 GMT

    Now , you have to say that if there was ever exemplified the Aussie attitude , it would have been with Nielsan's statement. "yeah , we are down but not out" knowing Pakistan , that might just be true as well.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Scgboy on July 21, 2010, 21:29 GMT

    Now , you have to say that if there was ever exemplified the Aussie attitude , it would have been with Nielsan's statement. "yeah , we are down but not out" knowing Pakistan , that might just be true as well.

  • ygkd on July 21, 2010, 22:20 GMT

    Here was Steve Smith's golden opportunity to show he could graft that 40-odd under pressure and he failed to do it. Instead we saw 2 boundaries and he goes out. There are too many young players now who are incapable of playing in anything other than top gear. Bolstering the batting order with him did not work. As for the more senior bats, if they can't play the swinging ball, Australia do not deserve the pretensions of reclaiming top team status.

  • on July 21, 2010, 22:22 GMT

    Too Horrible! So much shocked about my Favorite team's performance! :-(

  • RAVI_BOPARA on July 21, 2010, 23:39 GMT

    `PANIC` WILL BE COMMON FROM NOW ON FOR AUSTRALIA... THE AUSSIES WILL BE PANICKING COME THE ASHES!!!

  • MinusZero on July 22, 2010, 0:10 GMT

    I think the batting order needs a clean out and has needed it for years. Feeding new players gradually isn't working. Australia will get hit in a few years like the West Indies did where their stars retired all at once. Katich is the only player deserving his spot, Clarke maybe. Ponting is on the decline and has been for a while, North isnt performing, Hussey is so-so and Watson is not a test batsman, definitely not an opener (1 century in 34 innings proves that). They should bite the bullet and suffer a few years of being beaten to come out better at the other end of the tunnel. Katich is 34 and Hussey and Ponting are 35, the decline is nearer than the selectors admit.

  • on July 22, 2010, 1:01 GMT

    Brazil in Soccer is like Australia in Cricket. Australia/Brazil almost always have the control of the game so they never panic. But when they go to the unchartered territory like falling behind against Holland or getting out on 88, they dont know how to handle this unless Opposition makes stupid mistakes, like what USA did against Brazil in South Africa in the confederation Cup. Brazil was behind 0-2 against USA but eventually wont the game 3-2. But Brazil couldn't win against Holland. So we will see whether Pakistan can be USA or Holland against Australia.

  • whippersnapper on July 22, 2010, 1:12 GMT

    There's always a chance. Especially if it's Australia that's up that well known creek. If there's any team to get out of the mire it's them.

  • Tahir_Khan on July 22, 2010, 1:56 GMT

    Performances like Sydney, Lords and this test from the bowlers will be usesless until they are backed up by the batsmen and fielding.Fielding seems to have improved but batting is as poor as it has always been in the recent history.After winning Sydney Aussies feel they can beat Pakistan from any position, and looks Pki team feels the same they cant beat the Aussies no matter how good is their position.Pakistan lacks batsmen who can play long test match innings, first three batsmen gone, I dont ve much hopes from the next few. Look at Umar Akmal he still plays test cricket as if it is 20 20.Frankly board needs to tell him, he needs to play test matches like tests other wise he must sit out so he can learn, it has been quite some time since he made a use full contribution with his bat in a test, same with his brother and Malik, tale must wag from Pakistan other wise I am afarid we will be cursing this team again as one with no plans no direction and gut less with bat. I am still nervous

  • TEST_CRICKET_ONLY on July 22, 2010, 2:20 GMT

    No Tim, the problem is the bowling "attack" is pedestrian at best. All of this makes Ponting's claims of rebuilding a strong team look quite stupid.

  • catalyst213 on July 22, 2010, 3:01 GMT

    Its a very good Test match, well bowled Pakistan and one thing for sure Australia will not die wondering. Great entertainment for any fans and with Ashes looming over the heads im sure the Poms are keeping a close eye on this match.