Posted by: nestaquin | December 20, 2009

Tasmania v Pakistan: Day One Up Close & Personal

I know our Pakistani readers will be keen to know first-hand how their team have started their Australian tour. I doubt you’ll get much more than platitudes, inaccuracy and a review of the scorecard from most of the press so in the spirit of cricketing fraternity I’ll pass on the narrative and a few thoughts from the first day’s play at Bellerive.

The day began with a grinning Kamran Akmal, resplendent in green blazer, meeting a woolly George Bailey for the toss. As a chilly Antarctic breeze blew in from the Derwent the pair shook hands warmly, Kamran called incorrectly and George, secure in the knowledge that he had four fit quicks at his disposal, sent in the tourists on a green pitch under a cloudy sky while a gloomy Mt. Wellington brooded sullenly in the distance.

Salman Butt and Imran Farhat opened the innings and although they only scored 47 from the 27 overs before lunch their batting was intelligent and assured against some very tight, and at times, hostile Tasmanian bowling.

With Ben Hilfenhaus unavailable for selection and playing Grade Cricket due to a Cricket Australia directive, the Tasmanian attack was led by Brett Geeves, recently released from 12th man duties at the WACA.

Handsomely barbated and with an elusive BaggyGreen within reach, Geeves tore in with the wind at his back from the River End and troubled both batsman in a fiery and pulsating opening spell. His bouncers were accurate and menacing and with the seam proud he jagged the ball both ways off a good length and was most unfortunate to have a nervous Butt dropped at second slip in his third over.

It proved a costly miss too, as apart from a half chance from a mistimed drive from a cunningly flighted delivery from Krezja mid-afternoon, Butt was superb. Technically and temperamentally, it was as good an innings from an opening bat you could witness on a seaming wicket. His footwork was decisive and his judgement of length expert with his driving square of the wicket brutal. His disdain for the spin of Krejza and Marsh was telling as he basically hit them to the boundary whenever and wherever he wanted.

He was eventually out caught behind to the second new ball playing a limp and exhausted cut shot late in the day from a rising Geeves delivery and his 153 will be remembered for some time by those that were lucky enough to witness it.

During the lunch break the sun broke through and with the ball softer the pitch flattened somewhat although that didn’t prevent Farhat or Faisal Iqbal losing their wickets to edges from good balls from Tasmania’s seamers.

Misbah entertained the crowd with a well crafted 42 in a century partnership with Butt before he too was dismissed a half hour after tea losing patience and playing a loose drive to the nagging length of Tim McDonald.

During the afternoon I also had the pleasure of watching Saeed Ajmal practising his bowling at the Bellerive nets. He placed a mat about 30cms square on a good length outside off-stump and proceeded to go through his repertoire consistently hitting the target without missing for about twenty minutes. It was remarkable stuff and he was then joined by Danesh Kaniera who grabbed a bucket of balls and proceeded to bowl a dozen leg-breaks that all landed on the same mat. There was plenty of smiles and laughter between the two and it was obvious that the Pakistani team are in good spirits as well as in good form.

The day ended with Kamran Akmal’s younger brother, Umar, who took 50 minutes to get off the mark, on 10 not out and left-hander Fawad Alam yet to break his duck.

Tomorrow, I’m sure Pakistan’s pace bowlers, Umer Gul, Mohammed Aamer and Abdur Rauf will be very keen to have a bowl on a helpful deck and no doubt, Tasmania will be in for a very challenging afternoon.

In summary, at first glance Pakistan appear strong, both physically and mentally, and in my opinion, they have a very realistic chance of winning their first ever series on Australian soil if their performance and attitude at Bellerive today is any indication of their cricket during the month ahead.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for this Nesta.

    I was impressed with Aamer at the T20 in June and I’ve heard good things about Kamran’s brother. If you’re making a weekend of it at Bellerive, I’ll be very interested in your thoughts on those two.

  2. Thanks for this bulletin Nesta. I hope Butt carries his form in the test matches. But if Australia is going to prepare supporting tracks we will have an interesting series as Pakistan’s bowling looks really good.

    I will be following your match reviews.

    • The green deck at Bellerive was accidental and due to rain and the pitch sweating under covers for three days before the match.

      I think Melbourne will favour batsmen and deteriorate on days 4 & 5 and Sydney likewise except that it will turn appreciatively. I expect the Test pitch when Pakistan return to Hobart will be very good for batting, however, we have had record precipitation these last six months so it may not go as planned.

      I’m attending the last session and half today and will try and write something and maybe post a few photos later tonight.

  3. Good stuff Nesta, hoping for a strong showing from Pakistan, sounds promising for attractive cricket.

    Whilst l cant hope that they win l think it could promote a beneficial shake up/wising up in our test team.

  4. What sort of shake up would work, Jap? I’m at a loss to explain their Test cricket form of late or, other than Hilfy regaining fitness, how to fix the malaise.

    * Hilfy took 4/18 yesterday in a grade match.

    • Yeah l know, l’m at something of a loss as well. l guess that’s why l’m not a National Selector. l just would have thought that this Summer represented a real chance to move forwards. No disrespect to WI or Pakistan intended.

      Personally l would have thanked M. Hussey for outstanding service and moved him on. Despite his runs l would have moved Watson down to 6 and brought Hughes back (l know he hasnt been in the runs till lately). l think it was a great Summer for him to play himself into a long career.

      Hilf is crucial. l am a big Siddle fan, but l feel he needs to add another strong to his bow? l think we need a greater threat from our attack and don’t see Hauritz as an answer. That being said l respect his efforts and disdain the vitriol that had been directed at him.

      Otherwise we look with interest to Khawaja, Bailey, M Marsh?

  5. I’m looking forward to seeing Aus vs Pak in England next summer. Aus will need Hilfy for that.

  6. Another ton for Uzzy today, auguring well for his future. One from Jaques as well.


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