Sydney and Adelaide were two very similar games. Pakistan collapsed, Asia style in Sydney. And in Adelaide, Fawad Alam and Umer Akmal did a face saving but insufficient rescue act. I can think of Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli doing something on those lines, in vain.
Australia batted first in both the matches and posted a chasable score. The Pakistan bowling was quite good considering the conditions and the pitches.
Watson showed good form on both occasions but one cannot afford to bank on form every single innings. He simply premeditated to hit Asif across the line from good length. He hit one but missed in the next attempt. Asif had tempted him again and the ball found the gate. Watson is in good nick but not in perfect nick. The odd attempted pull is still being mistimed.
The other opener, Shaun Marsh, is not in convincing form. He made a patient 83 in Adelaide but it was more of a fighting knock rather than a second fiddle to Watson. Watson’s free scoring helped him spend more time in the middle. Marsh never got the measure of Ajmal.
Ricky Ponting, yet again, has succumbed to the pull this summer. Rana Naved bowled very smart lengths first up. He was forced to defend off the back foot, first two deliveries. On going for the pull on the third ball which was actually a touch fuller than the first two, he missed and was caught LBW. Again, had Aameer held that sitter in Hobart, we culd have expected Pup to make it to the toss with Strauss, come the Ashes.
Clarke is the best batsman in the team on current form. In Adelaide after two early wickets, he made sure there were no further breakthroughs. There was not a single boundary in his first 50 runs. He and Hussey built the innings brilliantly. The acceleration was so smooth that I cannot recall a single non text book slog. Clarke has truly come of age. He fully deserves the vice captaincy and such leaders are missing in the Pakistan side. It was he who set the match up for Australia and he was clearly my man of the match. Ryan Harris did bowl tidily but two of his five wickets were free gifts from tail enders.
From a ‘leg spinner who can bat’ in the test line up, Cameron White has become an essential middle order one day batsman. His fielding has been brilliant and his body language, exemplary. He’s one cricketer who will get 10 out of 10 for body language.
These totals of around 260 proved to be adequate only because Pakistan’s batting is in poor order. But the bowling is in safe hands.Asif, Aameer, Gul, Rana Naved, Sami, Kaneria and Ajmal form a group of high value . More importantly, this group has performed in it’s latest assignments.
I wonder at the staggering difference in the levels of quality between the bowling and the batting unit.