That harmonic, melodic sound of pitter patter on the roof became one of devilish characteristics during the 3rd and final ODI between South Africa at New Zealand, at Seddon Park, Hamilton.
On a gloomy, disappointing day for the often picturesque Hamilton, South Africa batted first and were going along smoothly, when the whole cricket world came to a halt.
To be honest, New Zealand actually had a decent start, knocking over Hashim Amla, Rilee Rossouw and David Miller all for low scores. However, the devastation started to kick in.
Quinton de Kock was seeing ‘em like beach-balls, and AB de Villiers was continuing his seemingly immortal purple patch that has made him the number one batsman in the world.
With South Africa riding high, with de Kock on 80 and de Villiers on 33, the Rain Gods then helped New Zealand out. With consistent, typical New Zealand rain, Hamilton residents were sent back home.
While it was disappointing for both sides that the match was washed out, New Zealand did avoid a whitewash, which was a positive of their series. Also, Australia hold their number one ODI ranking because South Africa didn’t win 3-0. Some luck for both Trans Tasman nations.
With the gloom being the significant factor of the game, the match finished with South Africa 157/3 after 30 overs. You could tell they were about to explode, but I guess the skies took that job off them…
On a pitch that Pakistan mostly dominated, Australia have been humiliated to the highest extent, losing to the Paks by 221 in the first Test at Dubai. Their batting can now officially be dubbed, an unnatural disaster.
With 6 wickets to defend in a day, realistically, it was possible. But, the sequence of the match and Australia’s batting earlier in their second innings, made everyone believe that they wouldn’t survive.
Having a stiff task ahead of them, Australia got off to a steady start. But, a flurry of wickets before lunch saw the Aussies sitting at 7/117 and bowing down to the roaring Pakistan Lions.
When all seemed to be lost, Mitch Johnson and Steve Smith pulled together a brilliant, defying partnership that saw Smith reach 55, soaking up 175 balls, while Johnson hit 61, a little quicker, scoring 127.
Their partnership was a positive out of the game, but it couldn’t stop the Australians from being absolutely smashed. Pakistan were all over them at every point of this game, bar the first half an hour of day one.
A symbol of Pakistan’s dominance, was when Australia went a whopping 273 deliveries without accumulating a boundary.
With not much happening, and a dead pitch playing the catalyst with massive turn here and there, I found even I was flicking across to watch the Matador Cup Final on TV.
While a few positives came out of the final day, Australia honestly still crumbled to the spinners in both innings, and lost by 221. Being bowled out for the embarrassing score of 216, the Aussies looked like a bunch of amateurs.
The star of the second innings was arguably Zulfiqar Babar, who took 5-74 to assist set up Pakistan’s cataclysmic victory. Babr finished with 7 wickets for the match, and was at times Pakistan’s best bowler on the park.
Scoring twin hundreds and defying Pakistani history, Younus Khan was awarded man of the match in a landslide Pakistan triumph. With everything going their way, Pakistan were the stars of the show.
As for Australia, well, they were just the lab rats, allowing Pakistan to test balls on them and see their reaction. Majority of the time it was positive!
With all but everyone dubbing Australia to win this Test comfortably, hundreds of punters will be left red-faced after this whopping surprise.
With nothing to lose next Test, Pakistan will need to pull together another great performance to overcome Australia, who will never disappear.
Also, in other cricket, the third and final ODI between New Zealand and South Africa is being held today at Hamilton, so make sure to tune in tonight for a full wrap!
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Going into the penultimate day of the first Test between Pakistan and Australia at Dubai, we all knew that Pakistan were on top and Australia had a stiff task ahead of them. We also knew that the Aussies crumbled like shortbread with too much flour.
Well, during the fourth day, we found out that Australia can also crumble like ANZAC biscuits. But, the only difference is, Australia’s outing wasn’t exactly sweet.
In sweltering Dubai heat, Australia took the to the field with Pakistan 0/38, leading by 189 already. With nothing to lose, Azhar Ali was swinging hard and running quickly between wickets with Ahmed Shehzad.
However, he did lose something, his wicket. Ali nicked behind off Steve O’Keefe to Brad Haddin who barely held the catch in his gloves. With Australia still feeling the heat, they managed a few celebrations. But, it was the next partnership that hurt.
With the class acts of Ahmed Shehzad and Younis Khan combining together for a whopping 168 run partnership, the Aussies were this time, literally on their knees.
Younis Khan became Pakistan’s most prominent century-getter as he made twin centuries with a brilliant 103 not out to back up his 106 in the first innings. Ahmed Shehzad didn’t disappoint either, whacking 131 to boost up his average.
Upon reaching 286/2, a lead of 437, Pakistan declared and put the tentative Australian batsmen in for another outing.
Starting off pretty well, Australia were 0-44, when it all happened. Dave Warner was hitting them well, as was Chris Rogers. But, there was a lot of work to be done, chasing down 438.
When things seemed to be going okay, Warner went for a loose shot dancing down the pitch, and was stumped for 29 off Zulfiqar Babar. Alex Doolan came in riding low on confidence, and got a duck, lbw to also Zulfiqar Babar. Australia looked pretty stupid.
Pakistan were spanking them with a cane like it was 1987, their last chance to spank the Australians. When things looked grim, Michael Clarke came to wicket! And was gone before he could reach 4 runs.
Now, Australia were just being embarrassed, and the wicket of nightwatchman Nathan Lyon was just cruelty to the Aussies, as they lost 4 wickets in 4 overs, two of them to Babar, two of them to Yasir Shah.
Australia, had well and truly, crumbled against the spin. Sitting at 59/4 with 379 runs to win, Australia need a miracle to scrape through for a draw tomorrow.
With egos and reputations on the line, it is important that tomorrow is a cracking day of cricket. However, my instincts have just informed me that Australia will most likely get smashed. But, anything can happen in Test cricket. So, make sure to tune in tomorrow morning for a full wrap of the Test!
Chris Rogers and Steve Smith are out their unbeaten, so they need some big scores…