Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Pakistan gain edge as Tuesday Test starts
Australia 9/229 (70 ov, S Katich 80) v Pakistan, T1/2 D1 at Lord's
Security considerations have determined that Pakistan are the nominal home team for this two match series which began on Tuesday (is this the first time that a Test match - at least one involving Australia - has begun on that day of the week?)
To my surprise, the Pakistan bowlers generally bowled as if they'd played most of their cricket in England, so well did they use the conditions at Lord's after Shahid Afridi won the toss and (as they say nowadays) "chose to field" .
Mohammad Aameer (18-2-66-3) and Mohammad Asif (17-5-53-3) kept Australia in check for much of the short day. The former took the crucial early wickets of Shane Watson and an out of sorts (by his standards) looking Ricky Ponting, while the latter broke the only substantial partnership on the stroke of tea when he had Michael Clarke lbw for a measured 47/77b (8x4). He followed up soon after the interval when he had Simon Katich caught behind for a characteristically gritty 80/138 (9x4) and then bowled Marcus North for a duck.
2/171 thus became 5/174, and it didn't improve as Umar Gul put Tim Paine out of his misery and Danish Kaneria removed Steven Smith and Mitchell Johnson, from both of whom good things with the bat had been expected, cheaply. Mike Hussey is hanging in there for 39*/75b (5x4, 1x6) but from this position even 250 would look a good score.
If the conditions continue to be bowler-friendly Australia may not be as perilously positioned as they appear to be at the moment. If the rain forecast for each of the next few days materialises then a draw can't be ruled out, either.
Fox Sports report with link to video highlights.