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Monday, January 04, 2010

Pakistan's day ...again: T2 D2

Pakistan 9/331 (96 ov, Salman Butt 71, Imran Farhat 53) lead Australia 127 by 204 runs with 1 first inns wkt in hand: T2 D2 at SCG.

Pakistan produced an impressive batting performance founded on a solid 108 run opening stand btween Salman Butt 71/164b (9x4) and Imran Farhat 53/140 (4x4). Then cameo innings from Mohammad Yousuf 46/56b (8x4) and wonder boy Umar Akmal 49/48b (9x4) gave Australia more cause for concern. But the middle and lower order didn't contribute much, which has prompted some of the TV and radio pundits, notably Kerry O'Keefe, to contemplate a possible Pakistan meltdown in the last three days.

While a major Australian recovery is not impossible, this looks like wishful thinking, a she'll be right mate back projection from the not long gone golden days of Australian cricket when a first innings deficit, even a 200 run one, was a spur to higher and better things.

These past two days several points have become pretty well self-evident . One is that the Australian attack is essentially composed of honest toilers. Another is that the Pakistan batting has shifted up a couple of gears: while the tail may be brittle the specialists are capable of scoring a lot of runs, even in the fourth innings on a wearing pitch.

If Australia are to win from here it's hard to see them doing so without taking advantage of a fourth and fifth day wicket, If this does happen will the many commentators** who condemned Ricky Ponting's decision to bat see the error of their ways or at least the irony of the situation?

Update 5 January

** Shane Warne a perceptive exception.


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