Day two, SCG

The pitch on Day 2 was still helping the bowlers while the batsmen could score if they were prepared to play the waiting game. Marcus North dropped a sitter from Farhat’s edgeoff Siddle early in the day. The early wicket, had he caught it, would have made a huge difference to the day’s proceedings. The Aussie bowlers beat the bat several times but couldn’t find the edge. And when they did find the edge, none of them appealed! It was a faint edge off Iqbal’s bat and the batsman looked back a little anxiously.  The Aussies thought he had been beaten yet again and showed frustration. The Hot Spot clearly showed that Iqbal had kissed it.

This incident showed the amount of human element present in  decisions. You need to appeal to get a batsman out. The batsman probably knew he was gone and there was a smile from Billy Doctrove. Technology proved it was close and it was out. But none of the Aussies appealed. You cannot eliminate those little imperfections from the game. Why didn’t Iqbal walk then? The ICC says Reviews will make batsmen walk. They had the Hot Spot and the review system in place. Was Iqbal so sure that the Aussies weren’t going to appeal? Or was he sure he didn’t nick it?  Why did he turn back then? Or was he not going to walk inspite of all this? Well, all I want is the decision review system removed. Let us challenge the umpires more.  And let us keep the human element in it. We can use the technology to evaluate the umpires but let us keep it away from the game.

Pakistan should have planned to play as long as possible and go for an innings victory. Instead, they kept playing their shots and didn’t mind losing wickets while scoring runs. The only thing that saved them today was the fact that they managed to score a lot of boundaries and developed a considerable lead. They could have been bundled out for a small total very easily. Only Mohammad Yousuf played sensibly. His batting was a treat to watch.

Faisal Iqbal should have never played test cricket. If you look at the way he gets beaten, it will be similar to how a tail ender gets bamboozled by a fast bowler. He was set up well by Ponting and Siddle. The ball wide of off stump was mistimed and was caught brilliantly by Watson who was standing midway at the point region, as a catcher.

One batsman ( Umer Akmal) alone could have been allowed to play an attacking role but even Kamran and Misbah were going after the bowling, not considering the risks. While Faisal Iqbal gave a lot of respect to Hauritz, Umer showed Hauritzhis place by hitting him for four boundaries in the first over he faced. Misbah tried to emulate Umer but was caught behind attempting an ambitious pull shot. Umer himself missed one on the leg stump and was caught LBW.

Peter Siddle was the only bowler to bowl some testing stuff. Bollinger was very ordinary and could not display any swing even in such favourable conditions. Shane Watson was more threatening than Bollinger. Mitchell Johnson is ‘spearheading’ the attack and that will tell you why Australia is struggling against Pakistan in a test match at Sydney. In the end, the edges to the third man fence and the lofted shots over mid wicket brought Pakistan a 200 run lead. This should be good enough in such bowler friendly conditions although they could have done better justice to their batting potentials.

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