Pak v Aus, 2nd MCC Spirit of Cricket Test, Headingley, 2nd day July 22, 2010

Australia chase another great escape


It's 103 years since a team won a Test having been bowled out for 88 or less in the first innings of the match. It's only six months since Pakistan last squandered a lead that should have been match-winning.

The Australians are not looking back a century as they embark on the third day at Headingley, where, remarkably, they became the bookmakers' favourites a day after being skittled for their lowest score in 26 years. Shane Watson dragged Australia back into the match with a six-wicket haul before Ricky Ponting led a batting counterattack, and despite taking a 170-run first-innings advantage, the ghosts of their Sydney meltdown could still haunt Pakistan.

"We have seen it before and it might bring back some memories to Pakistan of the Test match in Sydney a few months ago," Watson said. "They know exactly our fighting spirit as a team and what we are able to really turnaround from that Test in Sydney.

"I think that will really start to creep into their minds over the next day or so especially with Ricky and Michael [Clarke] batting very nicely at the moment. We know there is still a lot of hard work to go in this Test and hopefully we will continue to do that over the next couple of days and get the result like we did in Sydney."

The SCG result will certainly be on the minds of the seven Pakistan players in this match who were also present in January. It was certainly being considered by their coach Waqar Younis, who was not in charge back then, and he is confident that with early wickets his men can avoid a repeat.

"We had such a Test match back in Sydney recently so we don't really want to get into that sort of situation," Waqar said. "We don't want to lose this Test match. We're still 34 runs ahead of them, they have to start getting runs on top of us, so it's still very much an open game for us. Tomorrow, first session is a very important one. If we fetch a couple of wickets it'll do us good."

The key for Australia is Ponting, who survived a close lbw shout from his first ball when he offered no shot to Mohammad Aamer. Ponting dug in to register the first half-century of the match and by the close of the second day, he and his vice-captain Clarke had delivered Australia a sniff of victory, although Waqar knows removing Ponting will spark the Pakistan bowlers.

"If you look at the last Test he struggled against the swing bowling but [today] he managed to get out of that period where we were looking to get him out," Waqar said. "He's got 12,000 runs, you've got to give him credit. He's a class act, and he's looking good, definitely a danger-man for us. If we can fetch him early morning it will be a different story."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dmqi on July 24, 2010, 11:16 GMT

    Ha, Ha. How is my prediction above written on day3, I said Australia will give a tough fight and Pakistan will win by 1-3 wickets. They did win by 3 wickets but the Australian caused their hearts to come to their mouths. I think I am getting some secret feedback from the Octopus about predicting results. In the first test I said on day 2 that australia will win by 145 runs.They won by 150. Should i start a prediction business instead of my teaching profession?

  • Agnar on July 23, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    Did Cricinfo chose the head line "Pakistan face anxious overnight wait" to scare Pakistan team. Australian team is an excellent cricket team, but they are not gods. Why couldn't the head line be "Pakistan closing in on Australia" or "Pakistan hope to level the series"?

  • dummy4fb on July 23, 2010, 17:46 GMT

    Not this time. Inshallah we will WIN.

  • cricpolitics on July 23, 2010, 17:42 GMT

    The better team will win and so far it's been the Pakistanis who have played better cricket than Australians in all the departments in this match.

  • Aussasinator on July 23, 2010, 17:08 GMT

    Wishful thinking! The perennial Australian optimism.

  • pickateamonform on July 23, 2010, 17:00 GMT

    When are the australian selectors going to pick a team on form? m north has to be struggling? he only averaged 24 from 12 inns at state level against misely grade cricket bowlers (p george ave 30 with the ball and somehow is on holiday in england....?) give a young bloke a go...Khawaja made 700 runs @ 63 in shield but will watch from the sidelines and we continue to ignore young talent!!! speaking of young talent, how do b cutting(qld) and t copeland(nsw) get overlooked for a free holiday when george,with no exciting statistics boards a flight to london! Cutting took 46 wkts @ 24 and copeland 35 @ 17 in just 5 matches compared with george, unmarketable and averaging over 30 at state level! Surely a test cap is worth more than a mediocre season in state cricket...

  • dmqi on July 23, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    Alright, the stage is set. Australia takes a lead of 179 runs. Tha paniky Pak team forgot how to bowl to Smith. The last 4 australian players scored 129 runs. If the top 4 Pak players can score that many runs, they might have a 50:50 chance as the australian fielding will be extremely good. Butt can take a lesson from this. Bowling will be tough too. If pak can match the australian fire works, and stop throwing wickets to catch the plane, they can win by 1-3 wickets. That is my prediction before the start of the final Innings.

  • dummy4fb on July 23, 2010, 10:09 GMT

    The chasing a total is always a problem for Pakistan (what so ever chasing total) and on very few occasion they were able to chase a good total. I remember once Pakistan has to chase against England probably at Karachi and score was just around 70 and Pakistan lost 7 wickets in chasing that total. In my personal opinion, Pakistani team needs more training on how to keep nerves in tense situation like Imran and Javed Miandad did several times.

  • miv1 on July 23, 2010, 9:05 GMT

    Akmal brothers should learn something from afridi and retire from tests. Afridi can be more reliable than umar akmal while kamran cant keep the wickets beyond 30th over.

  • justroundthecorner on July 23, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    It was good while it lasted....but expecting this Pakistani team to win was asking for a little too much, sanity reigns again.

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