Sunday, December 18, 2016

Australia wins, but let us all exalt Pakistan Zindabad!!!!!!!

Australia won a gripping first test on the scoreboard but the vanquished foe in Pakistan walked off the field victorious.

With their fight in getting so close to chasing down 490 in the 4th innings capturing all the imaginations of onlookers. Imprinting their fight on our beings after being humiliated in the early throws of this test where their insipid first innings batting display on the truest of pitches had justifiable scorn heaped on them.

The salt administered to the wounds of their cricketing pride was the Australians deciding not to enforce the follow-on in a decision mystifying all. It was if crowds and television rating were dictating the decision with the chance of the opposition to fight back viewed as pie in the sky and not even occupying any of their consideration.

Watching the brows furrow on the sweat filled brows of all the Aussies during the compelling 5th day run chase showed there is plenty of fight in the Lions of Pakistan.

Fight, and the pride behind it has been so the trademark of Pakistan under the Stateman like entity Misbah ul Huq. In a sense, this group of players under his leadership have embodied the character and resolve of the Pakistani people and the indelible charm that goes with this. It is obvious the message has been delivered that we play for all our brothers and sisters in our beloved homeland and it is our duty to fill their lives with some much-needed joy in very tough times.

Let us face it, no one on the World scene is more victimised than Muslim people with Pakistan as a Nation treated appallingly. We saw this during the terrible flood of 2011 where basically the rest of the World showed little care in what was described in the United Nations by Kofi Annan as the most 'tragic natural disaster he had seen'

The cricketing fraternity stood out for them bending over backwards to help Sri Lanka affected by the terrible Tsunami of 2004 with fundraising efforts across the globe going into overdrive.

But, no such response in Pakistan's time of grave need

A video depicting better times and the beautiful nature of the Pakistani people

Back to today's events on the field and the washup of the match

Pakistan might have won the moral victory and captured all our hearts but the better team won in Australia.

The central figure of the test was Steven Smith
The quintessential hero with his dominant batting efforts during the test but perilously close to being the real villain.  One remembered for his dropped catches in the twilight of the 4th day followed by his questionable Captaincy during the epic last day. Where he was betwitzed and between over whether to attack or defend, eventually procrastinating, nearly facilitating defeat for his team.

The lack of leadership surety allowing the partnership between Yasir Shah and Asad Shafiq to gain roots in its infancy and then flourish. Only Mitchell Starc dismissing Asad Shafiq with an unexpected rising delivery saved Smith from a humiliating pantsing.

Seeing a hung drawn Asad Shafiq trudge off was the epitome of the compelling nature of test cricket. So defiant in his resolve and skilful in his innings of 137 but ultimately not quite superb enough to get the job down.

The drama of the conclusion leaves the legacy but the major theme was the Aussies prevailing due to their completeness.

Pakistan had bursts of ascendency but failed to last the distance with too many lapse moments in all disciplines.

Just think of the eventual victory margin of 39 runs for the Aussies, then think back to the last wicket partnership of 49 in Australia's first innings. Where the Pakistani bowlers took the foot off the pump thinking the last wicket falling was a fait accompli.

Stands out like dogs ball in the eventual washup.......

Fielding was also pivotal with both teams dropping catches but Australia's ground fielding in support of its bowlers exceptional compared to Pakistan's balderdash efforts. It represented arguably a 100 run advantage to the hosts which never ends well in a closely fought contest

Looking Forward 

From the Australian viewpoint, Nic Maddinson must be on shakey ground for the Boxing Day test. Not only because he has had the look of a good to average grade cricketer in the test arena but also because of the legacy of this match. With the heavy workload on the Aussie quicks due to the sterling batting efforts of Pakistan combined with the lack of support given to them by spinner Nathan Lyon, it would not surprise to see the all-rounder at 6 strategy revisited.

Not that there are any viable candidates currently in Sheffield Shield cricket putting their hand up demanding selection but the lack of merit hasn't stopped the Aussie selectors in the recent past as Nic Maddinson's curious selection showed.

From the tourist viewpoint, the pace bowling lacked balance with three lefties and it would be logical to bring in either Imran Khan or Sohail Khan to add a bit of variety. Conversely, if they think the MCG might spin they could entertain selecting Mohammad Nawaz who would add an extra spinning option as well as depth to the batting.

They could reshape their batting with talk of Sharjeel Khan coming in as an opener at the expense of Babar Azam allowing Azhar Ali to revert to 3. But, I think this would be unwise with the youngster Babar needing a show of faith that is sure to bare vibrant rewards.

It seems we are in store for a cracker of a series with Pakistan showing the have the potential to fight back despite being 1 down in the three test series

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