Day One, Sydney Cricket Ground

I’ve always been a huge fan of Mohammad Sami. Even on flat decks in the sub continent, he had the ability to bowl full and pick up wickets regularly. The administrators these days do not realize the potential of players these days. They want to be ‘transparent’ and answer the stake holders by simply dropping players after a few bad outings. Nobody seems to know the art of grooming a talent.

Ponting probably thought he and his batters would make light work of the Pakistani bowling and post a mammoth first innings score. He hardly respected the conditions. As a cricketer, you always need to give due respect to the opposition and the conditions. Ponting paid for his mistake.

Sami was deadly. The pace was high. He was enjoying the bounce and movement in the wicket. There was swing in the air as well. He found his rhythm very quickly. He looked like picking a wicket of every single ball. The odd bouncer was there but he kept bowling full and at the batsmen. Comeback kid Hughes could do little to the full and pacey delivery. The attempted drive went straight into the hands of second slip. Ricky Ponting hardly expected the short ball first up and it was right on the money. He just helped it along to deep square leg where Umar Gul took a very good catch diving forward. The hatrick ball to Watson was too good. The Yorker, which very few fast bowlers bowl with authority these days, crushed his toe. The appeal for LBW was turned down. The ball had hit him just outside off and the review upheld the original decision. The Sydney crowd already got to witness such drama after the delayed start due to rain. Australia were 2 down for 5 runs after the first half an hour of play.

The batsmen had to work hard to score runs, And the bowling was of such quality that they had to work hard to even survive. The contest between bat and ball was edge of the seats stuff. Mark Taylor rightly said that such a first day pitch was missing in the game over the last few years. Batsmen have been having it too easy even on the first mornings.

Meanwhile Watson was playing as straight as possible. Although I do not like him as opener, I should say he’s in truly good form. He left as many balls as possible and looked in good touch. Only batsmen in such good form can nick rippers like the one Sami produced to dismiss him. Watson was squared up. It was a beautiful sight to watch. Sunday morning. New Year’s test. Sydney Cricket Ground and Australia 3 wickets down for 10 runs on the board.

 Meanwhile Asif was teasing the batsmen with his gentle pace and movement, both in the air and off the pitch. Even Richie Benaud would have rarely witnessed such green and overcast conditions at the SCG on the first morning of the New Year’s test. Clarke and Hussey were no good. Both were beaten regularly. Asif pitched one on off stump luring Pup into the drive. What created the gap between bat and pad was the away movement in the air and the length of that delivery. And once it pitched, it found the gap and the timber as well. Hussey mistimed a pull off Asif because of the lack of pace from Asif. The top edge went high up and Misbah ran behind from second slip to complete a good catch.

Earlier, Asif had wrapped North on his pads and it looked very close on first sight. Billy Doctrove gave it out and North referred the decision. Hawk Eye showed that the ball was going over the stumps. The ball had hit him below the knee roll and there was no way the ball would have missed the stumps. Atleast, it was not high enough to overturn the original decision made by the on field umpire. I am certainly not convinced with Hawk Eye and the number of frames it offers per second. It was definitely ‘rubbish’ as Ian Chappel described it. Such a review will surely play on the umpire’s mind and influence his following decisions. North wasn’t there to stay for long as he followed an away swinger and was caught behind.

 You can’t say Haddin plays that way. At such a situation, you ought to take responsibility and curb your stroke making instincts. Haddin succumbed to a poorly timed shot off Asif and the tail was in by tea time. Hauritz and Johnson scored some easy runs as the bowlers as usual (of late) were less attacking to the tail.

 Asif ended up with six wickets on a day where Sami deserved six and Asif, 3 or 4.

Australia on the mat by stumps, Day One at the Sydney Cricket Ground

Welcome back Mohammad Sami!!

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One Comment on “Day One, Sydney Cricket Ground”


  1. The first day of this test match had Paksitan on top of it, and it seemed possible that they could comeback to win the second test match. However, they proved to show that they couldn’t win the match despite being on top of the test match except for the last day (day 4).


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