Archive for July 2010

Headingley and Mohammad Amir

July 24, 2010

Finally, a victory for Pakistan

Ponting simply did not consider the abilities of Amir, Asif and Gul when he chose to bat after winning the toss. It was a very questionable decision to many not in hindsight but straight away and he’s  repenting for that decision now. Shane Warne said he would have bowled first but called Ponting’s decision ‘beautiful’ as batting first was the way to go and win matches.

It was pure pleasure to watch the way the Pakistan pacers attacked the Aussie batsmen. All three were in their elements.  Simon Katich was leg before shuffling across too much. Shane Watson succumbed to the nip in the pitch that made Asif almost unplayable. Asif produced an inswinger after a series of away swingers to Ponting and the skipper had too little time to put bat on that ball.

If you’re supporting the game and if you aren’t an Aussie, you would have loved it. It was a sensational display of pace and swing bowling. Even Umar Amin found the outside edge of Marcus North to trap him early. Nobody really settled down and the good thing was Pakistan was able to finish off the tail quickly, again thanks to some breathtaking balls from Mohammad Amir.

Amir, I hope isn’t ‘coached’ to nonsense. He is a very intelligent bowler with good pace. I was thinking how many are better than Steyn, Morne Morkel and Amir. Asif and Gul are top class along with James Anderson and Ben Hilfenhaus.  Roach, Southee and Broad are exciting. Any other good fast bowler around?

So all out for eighty eight is enough damage even if you’re playing against Pakistan. Australia could never recover. Bollinger and Johnson were no match for their counterparts. Hilfenhaus was good in patches but he struggled against the Pakistani southpaws as he is able to produce only the outswinger to the right hander regularly. His action facilitates that kind of a delivery.  He’s never been able to bowl a left hander’s away going ball. James Anderson is a special swing bowler because he is able to move the ball both ways, at will, and so is Mohammad Asif. Any better swing bowlers around than these two?

The match was effectively sealed on Day One but because one team was Pakistan and there was a game between the two sides in Sydney not too long ago, there remained interest till the end.

Butt and Farhat put on a solid partnership but the rest of the batting could never hold up. But 258 in such conditions by a Pakistani line up is decent. Watson was understandably the most successful bowler because he pitched the ball up and made the batsmen play. Simple. The conditions took care of everything else.   As expected, there was resistance in the second innings from Australia. Micheal Clarke played the best innings of the match. He is taking a lot of responsibility and making every innings of his count. Ponting and Clarke were the wickets Pakistan needed badly. The seam bowlers delivered again. There was a deep point and a deep square leg almost throughout the innings but Pakistan managed to get regular wickets. Steve Smith did play a gritty lower order innings but it’s too early to heap so much of praise on him.

Many expected it to be a thrilling finish but Farhat and Azhar Ali settled nerves by the end of Day 3. But Pakistan showed how Pakistanis play and lost 4 wickets before they could get the 40 runs required on Day 4. The batting looks very worrying and it was the bowling that single handedly won the game for Pakistan. Kaneria had little to do in these conditions but Amir and Asif deserved the man of the match award. Not Amir and Watson. Here’s what Akram had to say on Amir.

How good it would have been to have a third and final test in this series? When are we going to stop these 2 test rubbers?

Bumble would have been thrilled to have heard Pakistan Zindabad in Headingley.

Of being a true fan

On Day One of this test, I didn’t know of India’s progress when apparently Dravid and Sachin were batting in a test against Sri Lanka in Galle. I didn’t know the score.  I wasn’t watching Sachin bat. I cared little. I was having a brilliant time watching Asif, Amir and Gul torment Australia.

I am back.