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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

At last a century (for both Australia and Watson): T1 D4

Pakistan 258 & 3/170(45 ov) require 252 runs with 7 wickets in hand to beat Australia 5/454d and 8/225d (73.1 ov, S Watson120*, Mohammad Aamer 5/79) : T1 D3 at MCG.

The obvious highlight of a day in which Australia continued to move towards victory over a dogged Pakistan was Shane Watson's first Test century, which was also the first by any Australian this season.

If you've seen the TV highlights of the day's play you'll be aware that Watson was extremely fortunate not to be caught in the gully off the 186th ball he faced, and fortunate enough to score from the subsequent fumble the run he needed to bring up his century.

120*/220b (1x6, 10x4) out of 8/225 speaks for itself. Now, I wonder, will we stop hearing Watson described as a "stand in" or "makeshift" opener? There are good reasons why, as an allrounder, he should bat down the order but why tag him with these labels which are now (and have been since T2 against the West Indies) plain wrong.

While I doubt whether anyone seriously believes that Pakistan can win or even draw this Test, the visitors have shown flashes of pugnacity and resolution which I didn't expect of them, especially after their modest performances in New Zealand. In Australia's second innings Mohammad Aamer's 5/79 showed that he, like Umar Gul with the bat, is one several positive signs for the on field future of Pakistan cricket.


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