Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pakistan lost, Cricket won in Sydney

My first match review on this blog
This was Test cricket at its exciting best. Lots of twists. And a come from behind victory.
But first the match summary. Ricky Ponting won the toss and elected to bat first. Decision backfired in a big way with first the comeback man, Mohammed Sami and then Mohammed Asif struck to get Australia all out for 127 putting Pakistan in total command of the game. Pakistani openers Salman Butt & Imran Farhat gave their team an excellent start with a century partnership but Pakistan lost their way after that ending up with 333 on board. trailing by over 200, Aussie openers got a good start with Shane Watson continuing his habit of getting out in the 90s. Danish Kaneria however ran through the lower and middle orders. At the end of Day 3, Pakistan were in total command of the game. Australia were 8 down and leading by just 80 runs. Day 4 and the real drama began. Michael Hussey, who had been dropped thrice by keeper Akmal, along with Peter Siddle combined for a century partnership for the 9th wicket. Hussey remained unbeaten on 134. Pakistan had a target to 176 to chase. But they simply wilted under pressure and Australia won by36 runs.
It was not the most likely result when play for Day 4 began, but Pakistani unpredictability and the single minded Australianism prevailed. It was a Test match in which Pakistan were in command but never took their opportunities to finish it off. They always released the pressure. Poor batting and dropped catches marked the test. And Australia seized the opportunity in a manner only they can. In fact Pakistan did not seem like wanting to win the match at times. They seemed to be scared by the thought of beating Australia in a test. In the end Australianism - the single minded determination to win and not give up at any cost - prevailed
And from what I got through on twitter, most people (including yours truly) were praying for a Pakistani victory. Seems almost blasphemous for an Indian. But most Indians now consider Australia as their arch enemy in cricket and were rooting for the underdogs.
And after such matches, there is a plethora of comments stating Test cricket is not dying. My view, of course it isn't. So why are we even worried about it? There is no need to bring the doomsday predictions after every Test match.
Some Comments on the match
"Pakistan seemed to be terrorised at the thought of winning the match" (he he... quite true)
"Test Cricket is the finest sporting endeavour known to humankind" (agree 100%, 4 days of build up and then a dramatic result. Which other sport do you get this?)
"Pakistan lost, It wasn't just Australia but Cricket which was the true winner" (made by yours truly)

P.S. For the South Africa-England Test in Cape Town, for tomorrow, I predict a tense draw with the England last pair fighting it out in the end.

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