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July 23, 2010
A costly slip-up
In a chase of 180, an early wicket could have been decisive and Shane Watson had that opportunity in his grasp. And then out of it. Imran Farhat was on 4 when he edged a good delivery from Doug Bollinger just to the right of Watson at first slip. It should have been a straightforward take but it struck Watson on the wrist and bounced away, and he was despondent as he hung his head, rueing what he knew could be one of the most crucial moments of the match.
Smith shows some muscle
Steven Smith was six the last time Australia lost a Test to Pakistan. He certainly did his best to extend the winning run with a brutal batting display that included two sixes onto the Football Stand roof. "I was batting with the tail for quite a bit of time so I thought I had to get a few boundaries away and sort of stay on strike for most of the overs," Smith said of his aggressive approach. "So that was sort of the way forward, a few premeditated shots and that sort of thing."
Lunch breaks concentration again
For the third straight day, there was a wicket shortly after lunch. On the first two days, two breakthroughs had been made in the first over following the interval but on this occasion it was almost prosaic by comparison. Danish Kaneria sent down the first over and didn't strike, but with the first ball of the session's second over, Mohammad Asif caught the edge of Michael Clarke's bat with an excellent outswinger.
Missing a trick
Most captains would attack first thing in the morning. Salman Butt missed a trick when he had two slips in the first three overs of the morning for his opening pair of Mohammad Asif and Aamer. Inadvertently an outside edge from Ricky Ponting flew past the spot where ideally a third would stand. Asif was understandably annoyed. Luckily Ponting got out soon after, chasing a wide delivery to give Kamran Akmal a simple chance off Aamer a couple of overs later. But the positioning of the slips and the number of slip fielders continued to be debatable over the length of the Australian innings.
As if the day wasn't dramatic enough, a power cut during the morning session stopped the supply of electricity into the ground for nearly an hour. The main electronic scoreboard was blacked out completely, while the smaller board was stuck with Michael Clarke on 56. The Test Match Special radio commentators had to resort to battery power and there was uncertainty over whether the third umpire would have access to TV replays. It turned out an underground cable fault was the cause, affecting the Headingley area, and by the time play resumed after lunch, all was well again.
When the Pakistan players took the field for the second session, they gave the umpire Rudi Koertzen a clap and pat on the back as he walked to the centre. It is Koertzen's final Test match and it's understandable that the Pakistanis wanted to pay their respects, but they must have had plenty of confidence in their bowlers. Australia were only five down, so finishing Australia off in the session was no certainty. As it turned out, it was Pakistan's final session in the field with Koertzen, though only just.
Brydon Coverdale and Nagraj Gollapudi are assistant editors at CricinfoFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
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