Posted by: nestaquin | January 7, 2010

Australia V Pakistan 2nd Test: Pride & Prejudice

Australia’s remarkable come from behind win in Sydney to wrap up the series against Pakistan this afternoon illustrated in microcosm much of what is manifestly amiss, and conversely, what is explicitly admirable about the men who are currently representing the continent in their BaggyGreens.

Predictably, too many pundits, illuded by ego and blind with envy, some even seduced by a curious fatalism, will focus entirely on Pakistan’s abysmal fielding and impotent tactics, neglecting the fact that Australia deserve full credit for their remarkable win as no Test match is won by default when over 200 behind on the first innings.

Australia triumphed because Ponting has molded a team of relatively young, mostly inexperienced cricketers to believe wholly in themselves, their heritage and their captain. Some choose to label it arrogance or hubris, and at times it can appear as such, but what it is at its essence is unconditional pride in their position and cap.

This team, where half of them are still not assured a long-term place, is full of faults, some technical, some behavioural, others psychological yet they continue, through the confidence instilled by their leader, to find a way to compete at the highest level.

They may not have the talent or nous of their forebears but they have an abundance of heart and in Test cricket, where temperament and mental courage is as important as skill with bat and ball, they will be victorious more often than not because of it.

In the fullness of time, and in context, this near miraculous win will be cherished and stand among some of the finest victories in the BaggyGreen. The last time Australia managed to win a match when over 200 behind was in Colombo in 1992 and that team was also struggling with identity and consistency.

It became a landmark match in Australian cricket history and as we enter the second decade of the new millennium there is hope that this result may prove to be just as fruitful.

Also, Pakistan do not deserve the scorn directed at them as they played outstanding, and at times, breathtaking cricket for the first five sessions of the match. They failed to sustain their excellence throughout yet on and off the field they continue to be outstanding ambassadors for their country and their gesture of producing pink caps to present to Glenn McGrath for auction was greatly appreciated and roundly respected.

The scorecard may say otherwise but through their humility and generosity of spirit on this tour they have shown themselves to be winners in every other sense from the moment they landed in Hobart three weeks ago.

Few would begrudge them victory next week when they return to leafy Bellerive but they’ll need to be at the top of their game for the entirety of the match if they are to arrest their decade long losing streak on Australian soil.

A fit and slippery Aamer, the reinstatement of Younis Khan and the inclusion of Shoaib Malik to add some experience and responsibility to the middle-order would probably help in turning around their fortunes after such a heartbreaking defeat.

I’ll be in attendance all five days, if it lasts that long, and Patrick is eagerly awaiting his next batting session with his newest cricketing hero. As, of course, am I!

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Responses

  1. ‘Predictably, too many pundits, illuded by ego and blind with envy, some even seduced by a curious fatalism, will focus entirely on Pakistan’s abysmal fielding and impotent tactics.’

    I’m one of the predictable ones then. I wouldn’t even blame the whole team, just their selectors for not backing their admirable attack with a wicketkeeper who is even remotely useful.

    MOTM should have been Hauritz for not dropping the bullet that came at him or Kamran Akmal for dropping everything that came at him as no-one who gets three chances at a century proves anything.

    I hope that this win doesn’t hide some of the real issues that we have with our nervous batting line-up and for once gets our bowlers a little lurve. .

  2. I thought it was a great win, and wish Ponting as much gloating as he can manage in the next days. He was criticised for so long as being negative, conservative, fearful, etc. But here he backed his team 100% (at the toss for eg.) and the gamble paid off. Regardless of how it happened, it’s the result that counts and that’s the kind of win that builds team spirit.

    That said, my heart goes out to Pakistan. I would’ve loved to see them win it. Sad to see so much talent undone by poor fielding. Hopefully Pakistani teenagers are seeing clearly what their generation has to work on. Too late for these guys.

    While I think Pakistanis can say they lost because of their fielding, I think it’s unfair to say Aus won because of Pak’s fielding. Siddle & Hussey did a great job and the bowlers didn’t panic. Ponting’s captaincy also seemed positive. Self belief and the ability to back it up won through.

    I kind of cringed a bit with that win against India, accompanied as it was with Aus’s blatant unsportsmanship and poor behaviour (and Steve Bucknor), but this was a clean victory.

    Why not drop North & give this Smith bloke a run.

  3. We should all acknowledge the heart that led the Aussies to back themselves and keep playing, and especially their fielding in the fourth innings. However, the fact is that it “shouldn’t” have been enough to win the game, just as much as Pakistan’s performance shouldn’t have been enough to lose it.

    In all the talk of a clean victory, I wonder what would be being said now if that LBW hadn’t been overturned?

  4. What an amazing photo, a dark guy with a flowing black beard, wearing a bright pink baseball cap with a gold star, it’s a striking image, and the fact that it represents a visiting Pakistani cricketer supporting the local cancer charity adds meaning.

    On a late night internet video feed while in Turkey I watched Siddle and Hussey fighting back and drawing out the lead. Never seen anything so inspirational. Siddle playing a late cut for four, I must be dreaming. I agree Nesta, this will have to go down as one of the most improbable and finest wins. It should provide the sort of experience the team needs to go on to greater things.

    Of course, it’s of great concern that they got themselves so deeply into that mess in the first place, but at least they still managed to win.

    Contrary to the author, I think Pakistan deserve every bit of scorn for the way they became defensive and timid at the end, and they reaped what they sowed with that approach. They didn’t need to be great to seal the victory, just competent. But aside from that, it’s great to see them standing up for most of the match, I wish them the best in Tassie.

    Everything Pakistan achieves on the field has extra significance, given the background context from which the team is operating.
    The AUS-PAK series in England should be something to savour.


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