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Brydon Coverdale and Nagraj Gollapudi
July 22, 2010
News : Australia chase another great escape
Analysis : Déjà vu for inexperienced Pakistan
Report : Ponting and Watson lead Australia fightback
News : Shane Watson swings to career-best haul
Matches: Australia v Pakistan at Leeds
Ponting v Tendulkar
When Ricky Ponting guided a boundary to third man off Mohammad Aamer and moved to 40, it made him the second man in Test history to score 12,000 runs. Sachin Tendulkar has enough of a lead to suggest that Ponting might never catch his aggregate but there will always be passionate debate about the respective merits of both men. Incredibly, 12,000 runs couldn't split them on statistical terms. Tendulkar reached the milestone in his 247th Test innings and how many do you think it took Ponting? Yep, 247.
Umar Akmal's no-brainer
The conditions were dark and gloomy. Pakistan just about held the upper hand. They needed batsmen like Umar Akmal to apply themselves and lengthen their stay at the wicket. Instead, from the fifth ball of the morning Umar, in an unpardonable act that should not go unpunished, went for a wild slog, trying to clear Mitchell Johnson over mid-off. It was an easy catch held nicely by Simon Katich, but the Pakistani was spared as the bowler was penalised for a marginal no-ball. It was a no-brainer from Umar, who had thrown his wicket away in the second innings at Lord's three balls before lunch. Then, as today, he committed the mistake at a critical moment of the match. The Australians did not curse too much as Johnson worked Umar out easily with a neat outswinger that took a thick outside edge, further exposing Umar's brittle mindset.
Malik follows suit
It was becoming contagious, playing headless shots. After the Pakistan middle-order crumbled without any fight, Shoaib Malik was left to marshal the tail. Sadly, instead of taking charge Malik even took a single to give Danish Kaneria the strike once. Then half an hour after lunch Shane Watson pitched on length and all Malik could do was go for a desperate loft, exposing his indecisiveness, and the catch was held by Tim Paine.
While several players in Pakistan's batting line-up won't want to see the footage of their dismissals, Umar Amin's was especially replay-worthy. Amin ducked a Hilfenhaus bouncer but forgot to lower his bat along with his body. The ball hit flush on the blade and lobbed out to square leg, where Marcus North took a straightforward catch. Amin hesitated for a moment, seemingly unable to believe what had just happened, before he trudged off.
The lunches served up to the players at Headingley must be high quality. What else could explain two wickets falling in the first over after lunch on each of the first two days? On the first day, it was Mohammad Aamer who rattled the stumps of Steven Smith and Johnson, and on the second Shane Watson sent back Kamran Akmal, who edged to slip, and Aamer, who was given lbw padding up. Four men in two days who wanted to get back to the buffet in a hurry.
As with many things relating to Pakistan, the last ball of their innings was surrounded by utter confusion. Mohammad Asif's leading edge lobbed to mid-off, where Smith ran in to collect on the bounce and threw down the stumps with Danish Kaneria having taken off for a single. Kaneria dived back in an attempt to make his ground, but then scrambled up and attempted an overthrow when the ball ricocheted off the stumps. Rudi Koertzen at the non-striker's end ducked to avoid a second throw that went to the wicketkeeper in another run-out attempt, and again Kaneria sprawled to make his ground. But in the meantime, Koertzen had called for a replay on the initial throw from Smith and Kaneria had been caught short.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo, Brydon Coverdale is a staff writerFeeds: Nagraj Gollapudi
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