Before the 1st Test between Pakistan and Australia, the Ajmal-less Pakistanis had a big task ahead of them. However, that has completely flipped on the third day between the two nations at Dubai. With Pakistan basically obliterating Australia, this has everyone forgetting about Saeed Ajmal.
Australia went into the day riding high on confidence, at 113-0, and the sad thing coming out of the day is, Australia were bowled out. Yes, they lost 10 wickets in a day.
David Warner was as usual, the shining light in Australia’s batting performance. A blistering 133 made Australia’s predicament even more embarrassing, because Warner scored nearly half of the total runs.
Hitting his third Test match century in as many innings, Warner was continuing his good form after 7 months out of the game. Whacking 2 sixes to go with his 11 classy fours, Warner was the rock in Australia’s innings.
As for everyone else, well, I have one word: shambolic. Chris Rogers added 7 to his overnight score before he went for 38, chopping a ball on to his stumps.
The next pair, Alex Doolan and Michael Clarke, hit 7 runs between them, and that’s all I will say as an Aussie. Steven Smith came along to the crease and was looking dangerously good. He was utilizing his feet and put on his dancing shoes early to hit 22.
However, the previously emphasised word, dangerously, came back to bite Smith, as he was caught by Mohammed Hafeez.
The debutant Mitch Marsh was marginally better for a contributing 27, along with 22 from Brad Haddin. However, it was Warner who really made runs. Hitting a magical 133, Davey was finally walking.
When Warner went, Australia were in disarray. Warner’s arrogant hitting and classy game-playing was missed heavily by the Australians, and they didn’t know where to turn. They hadn’t been in this position for a while.
Pakistan were on top. The heat was draining energy out of everyone, and Australia were on their knees. A fiery 37 from Mitch Johnson still wasn’t enough to encourage the Aussies. They were bowled all out for a disappointing 303, and Pakistan were llicking their lips.
Yasir Shah was arguably Pakistan’s go-to bowler today, as the leggie took 3 crucial wickets, Dave Warner being one of them. With his other Pakistan team-mates getting the job done, Saeed Ajmal will get a run for his money when he returns to the game.
Holding an automatic lead of 151, Pakistan were in the box seat, and continued that way all afternoon. With Ahmed Shehzad and Azhar Ali opening up and batting through 13 overs of Australian heat, Pakistan reached 38/0 by the end of the day’s play.
Not only did they survive the afternoon, but they are actually going along at a more than steady run rate or nearly 3 an over.
With 2 days remaining in this Test, Australia need answers. Pakistan should probably hit 200+ more runs to add onto their lead of 189, before declaring and putting Australia in to bat, leaving at least a day and a bit to bowl them out.
As for the Aussies, well they need wickets desperately, and lots of them. They need a magical Mitch Johnson spell that was shown during the Ashes last summer.
With so many things to consider, I think we should all let it rest, and return for the fourth day! Make sure to tune in tomorrow for a full day 4 analysis!
During the second ODI between New Zealand and South Africa, hosted by the Kiwis at Mount Maunganui, Bay Oval, Protea demolition was on the cards once again.
Coming off the back of a disappointing loss to the Proteas in the first ODI, New Zealand were looking for confidence. Unfortunately, that confidence was as existent as a quality top order Kiwi batting performance. In other words, it wasn’t existent at all.
After South Africa were put into bat on a sunny day in Mount Maunganui, Hashim Amla basically obliterated all of New Zealand’s positive energy. After Quinton de Kock fell early for 26, it was up to Amla to really put the foot on the throat and keep it there.
Compiling a colossal 113 run partnership for the second wicket, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis were in good nick. It took Jimmy Neesham ball though, for Faf to get a snick behind, and the South African was gone for a polished 67.
However, not to worry, because next in the batting order was AB de Villiers, the hero of Bay Oval! In good touch for 37, de Villiers unfortunately, for everyone’s entertainment requirements, couldn’t convert into a big score.
Hashim Amla was amazingly still holding up one end, and the big man reached a blistering 119 before he was walking off to the sheds with a well deserved loud applause for his innings. South Africa were looking good and a big score was looming.
But, a massive late collapse by the Proteas was just what New Zealand needed. Taking 5 wickets for a scarce 3 runs, New Zealand were delivering their A game, and the South African tail was exposed.
Fortunately for South Africa, Amla’s century pushed them along to 282/9, which was a decent score, that to be frank, no one was expecting New Zealand to chase down after Wednesday’s festivities.
With New Zealand going into bat, they needed 2 or 3 players to really contribute, especially up the top order. Wishes were abundant and one realist Kiwi fan would feel like Cinderella. However, reality kicked in, and New Zealand were demolished.
With the top order effectively contributing zilch, or in other words, the top 5 batsmen averaging 13 runs each, New Zealand were crumbling like shortbread dough with too much flour!
The rituals continued, with Brendon McCullum going for one, as the skipper disappointed again. Following the skipper’s lead, Tim Southee, Daniel Vettori and Trent Boult were all shaking their heads.
However, a late spark made the match worthwhile, after the Kiwis were 8-104. With Luke Ronchi hitting 99 on Wednesday, the Kiwi whacked 79 today to really make a positive name for himself, which is: the special Kiwi (the only one who scored runs in this series).
With Mitch McCleneghan hitting 34 not out at number 11, New Zealand actually did extremely well to get to 210. However, we saw something obscure today: AB de Villiers bowl.
The high-spirited South African can do anything now, I guess, after he took his first ODI wicket. Along with the maiden snag, he took his second, delivering a brilliant slower ball to Trent Boult before knocking over middle peg.
De Villiers was exuberant, and South Africa recorded a whopping 72 run win, that should have been a lot more. But, for argument’s sake, a massive tail partnership happens in every one sided match.
This was another great performance from South Africa, and another disappointing outing by the Kiwis. Being demolished at home, New Zealand aren’t exactly looking very good. However, it will be the spirit that gets them over the line in the next game, if that eventually happens.
With another ripping game set up on October 27 at the picturesque Hamilton, make sure to tune in for the latest!
On a day where bat dominated ball, Pakistan built a very steady ship on their way to a decent total. After being bowled out for 454, Australia returned the favour on Day 2 of the first Test between the Aussies and Pakistan at Dubai.
Today we saw the game move along very swimmingly, and I am sure it brought entertainment to the tiddling Dubai crowd. With Pakistan needing to move along, Sarfraz Ahmed really brought the heat on Day 2, (if it already wasn’t hot enough!)
Going into the day on 34 not out, Misbah Ul Haq built on his early foundations, on his way to 69. He was finally walking after exponential apprehensive moments for the Pakistanis.
Joining a set Asad Shafiq at the crease, Sarfraz Ahmed was looking confident. Off the back of 4 consecutive 50+ scores in a row for Tests, Ahmed strutted to the crease with his chin up and all.
Making even Australia look like a bunch of fools, Sarfraz played an explosive and creative innings and was seeing the deliveries like beach-balls.
After whacking 14 fours, Sarfraz Ahmed reached 100 of just 80 deliveries, completely a 5-fer of 50+ consecutive scores. Upon hitting the finally centurial run, Sarfraz rejoiced and screamed out after gliding an upper cut for 4.
With Australia really being put to the Test, it was up to the two spinners to be chief and close up shop. With O’Keefe taking his first Test wicket, dismissing Asad Shafiq for an eventful and stupendous 89, Nathan Lyon took the crucial blow of Sarfraz Ahmed, with birthday boy Brad Haddin clipping the bails and stumping Ahmed for 109.
Sarfraz Ahmed got a round of applause for a more than brilliant innings, which was just what Pakistan needed. However, a flurry of late Australia wickets and a Mitch Johnson thunderbolt forcing Zulfiqar Babar to retire hurt, saw Pakistan restricted to 454.
When we all thought that Sarfraz Ahmed had been confident, out came David Warner, strutting along to play his usual role. Reality was starting to sink in. Pakistan were clueless, and Ajmal-less at the same time.
Warner whacked the bowlers all around the park, including numerous reverse sweeps for a boundary. Absolutely clobbering the cricket ball, Warner clubbed his way to 75 not out, from just 77 deliveries, whilst Chris Rogers was conservative and hit 31 not out from 110 deliveries.
Warner’s massive six towards the end of the day arguably redefined the opening batsman’s role in Test cricket. Instead of going along smoothly with confidence, going into day three on about 40 odd, Warner is, in his mind, on the cusp of a century.
With a clinical Australian opening partnership from 31 overs, the Aussies launched themselves to 113 for the loss of no wickets. Basically depleting a quarter of Pakistan’s tough work grinding it out, in only about a fifth of the time, Australia are literally, ahead of the game.
A similar day tomorrow will really please the Dubai residents, as the Australians continue their arrogant and explosive batting that is very nice on the T.V, with air-conditioning and a cold drink.
With an eventful day up our sleeve, make sure to tune it tomorrow for a full analysis of day 3!