Posted by: nestaquin | January 23, 2010

Australia v Pakistan First ODI: Observations

Pakistan have suffered their share of demoralising defeats this summer and in Brisbane this evening they lost another match they could have conceivably won as they had the better of the batting and bowling conditions after Mohammad Yousef won the toss and chose to bat.

On the back of some late innings hitting from Shahid Afridi they posted 274 which should have been defendable especially after the searing opening spell from Mohammad Aamer but basic fielding errors, Australia’s superior running between wickets and a Cameron White century was enough to see the home side record an impressive and clinical victory.

When under pressure in the last third of the match it appeared Pakistan had three captains as Afridi and Younis refused to accept Yousef’s authority and began over-ruling his field placements and openly arguing with him about tactics.

Ponting acknowledged this in the post-match interview by responding to Mark Nicholas’ statement that “Pakistan are a very good side” with the polite sledge, “They can be but if you put them under pressure the cracks appear fairly quickly”.

The heroes for Australia were Cameron White with the bat who was ably supported with intelligent innings by Clarke and Hussey, while Bollinger and Watson kept Australia in the game with the ball.

Special mention should go to Ponting who never looked comfortable in the twilight against the swinging ball but he hung around long enough to see the shine off and in doing so he made the middle-order’s job far less difficult.

Another observation is that Shane Watson probably should forgo opening the batting after bowling ten overs in the hot afternoon sun. He could easily change places with Haddin when Australia field first and it wouldn’t affect the team’s chances of victory.

The next match is in Sydney on Sunday and while Pakistan’s hopes will be high, I don’t fancy their chances.  Australia will be better for the run and I doubt that the visitors’ out-cricket, team spirit and tactical awareness can improve within such a short turnaround.

[Image: Getty]

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Responses

  1. Afridi should be captaining in short formats. At least, he will attack when necessary and it will hopefully stop the embarrassing on-field skirmishes as MoYo would probably just field without saying much.

    • If Younis Khan wasn’t accused, without evidence, of match fixing then he would still be captain. He seemed to be doing a fine job before that humiliating accusation and ridiculous parliamentary enquiry.

      • After Sydney, I am surprised that MoYo wasn’t hauled over the coals in the same manner.

        I did wonder why it seemed to be brushed aside, it appeared to be a perfect opportunity for a Pakistan politician to make hay at the expense of the team yet again.

  2. One other thing, it is only when you see a team not doing the basics very well that you realise how well-drilled the Aussies are at the basics and how much as a fan, I take quality fielding and the ability to properly run between wickets for granted.

  3. Australia’s mastering of the basics is the reason why they win far more than they lose. Makes for more entertaining cricket too.

    • It wasn’t just the basics the second ODI. It was outstanding stuff on show all innings.

  4. Fielding, team-spirit and tactical awareness. Nailed it in one. I would just call it spineless, brainless behavior, but then I’m a fan.

    Great blog. Very down-to-earth and mercifully jingoism-free.

    Cheers!

    • Thanks Goro, hope to see you around these parts again.

  5. I only caught twenty minutes or so, but I saw the over in which Aamer got Watson with a beauty and bowled some others that Bradman might have been good enough to edge. Off the last ball, Punter and Marsh scuttled a single off a ball dead batted to the popping crease.

    Awesome potential vs technique, heart and gameplan – I knew then that Aus would get over the line as they will 8 times out of 10 vs Pak. That lad is quite a sight with the ball though.

  6. It was amazing that Aamer had Ponting, one of the best batsmen in the world, hopping around like a tail ender. Great to see batsmen being tested and having to endure. But, at the end of the day, Ponting did survive, he scored a few, took the shine off the ball and used up of five of Aamers overs, protecting the middle order, so while it was a low score, he did his job. Aamer is good, but so was Ishant Sharma, the other teenager that bothered Ponting, where is he now? Long term performance is the key. Australia was very mature in the way they played it out, Clarke is growing into the role beautifully.
    I thought the game illustrated very well the difference between good and great. Pakistan did pretty well, scored 275, not too many mistakes in the field, bowled pretty well, good enough to win, you’d think. But then Aus showed that you can always do better.
    I don’t care if it’s Aus or some other team, but I hope someone is always setting the standard higher than “good enough”.

  7. Ponting and Watson are bothered by Aamer because they are dependent early in their innings on the forward press.

    It’s their default position and although it usually works in helping them get themselves going, against someone as new, slippery and awkward as Aamer it is proving a dangerous method.

    Marsh didn’t seem to have the same problems because he doesn’t commit as heavily to the front foot and was stiller at the crease enabling him to play back which gave him a millisecond more to play. Being a leftie probably helped as he could just get inside the ball and turn it square when short of a length.

    I doubt Sydney will be as quick and bouncy as the Gabba so Ponting and Watson’s method should serve them well in today’s game.


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