Posted by: nestaquin | January 24, 2010

Australia v Pakistan 2nd ODI: Observations

Pakistan copped an absolute pasting this evening in Sydney and the 140 run margin probably flatters them so poor was their performance.

About the only thing that went well for Pakistan this afternoon was the toss and even with that advantage Yousef managed to lose it immediately. The SCG pitch is always difficult to chase on and Pakistan found that out the hard way after their opening bowlers squandered any chance they had by feeding Shane Watson with regular short and wide deliveries in the first ten overs.

Their spinners were able to pull Australia back during the middle overs but it was too little too late by that stage.

I don’t want to write too much more but I will say that Pakistan were terrible while Australia was at its clinical best.

A few thoughts on individuals.

Umer Akmal – Was bowled not getting behind the line after Siddle bounced him at over 150kph with the previous delivery. Never a good look and one aspect of this match that the Australians are unlikely to forget.

Shaun Marsh – Played the foil to Watson with exquisite skill. A century beckons in Adelaide or Perth.

Cameron White – Excellent slipping and another fine innings. With every ODI Marcus North’s chances of another match in the BaggyGreen are fading.

Ricky Ponting – Never got going with the bat but his fielding, tactics and leadership were outstanding. The gully catch he took in his left-hand to dismiss Shoaib Malik was far more difficult than it appeared and illustrated that at 35 he is still one of the finest fieldsmen in international cricket.

Clint Mackay – Only in the team to allow Mitchell Johnson a break and is proving a worthy replacement. His run-out of Kamran Akmal was brilliant work but on a night where the fielding was top notch it went mostly unnoticed.

Shane Watson – Is beginning to resemble a right-handed Matthew Hayden in the way he smashed the new ball to every part of the SCG. Without the assitance of late swing the Pakistani quicks had little answer to his power and bravado.

Mohammad Yousef – Sacked midweek but told to carry on regardless. Is it any wonder that his team failed to turn up tonight?

And lastly, congratulations to Mitchell Marsh and the lads at the U/19 World Cup in New Zealand. They are through to the semis with Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Windies and I’m sure Ricky and the rest of the First XI would have inspired the lads to even greater heights with their unbelievable skill and absolute belief in themselves and each other in Sydney this evening.

[Image: Getty]

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Responses

  1. In retrospect, at this stage of Pakistan’s development, a tour to Aus was probably too big a challenge. This English summer, I hope, and expect, Pak to be a much more substantial opponent.

  2. Why is Peter Siddle considered so important to the side? He huffs and puffs but isn’t really going to get you wickets. I’d keep McKay and replace Siddle with Johnson. Even in tests I’d have an attack comprising Hilfenhaus, Bollinger and Johnson. For T20s it would be Nannes, Bollinger, Johnson.

  3. Mahek, did you see the way he set Umar up? The guy was rooted outside the leg stump and barely got his bat out to cover his off stump. Its courtesy that huffing and puffing that he played Umar so easily! If that had been a test wicket, people would be raving about it for days.

    Apart from the very well written summary and key performances Nesta, one that stood out to me was Shahid Afridi the batsman. I don’t think I’ve seen a more hyped up, overrated player who is so irresponsible, maybe Ashraful is the same for his country.

    It was also good to see the players from both sides in the crowd to support relief and aid for Haiti.

    • Shahid Afridi is the epitome of someone who has taken the phrase God Willing to its predictable conclusion.

    • Yeah I saw that alright. But one passage doesn’t make him a terrific bowler. I could easily point to how Ishant Sharma troubled Ricky Ponting at Perth and claim he’s really good, but the fact of the matter is he isn’t. He would not make the XI if he played for Australia, South Africa or England and may not be good enough to make the West Indian or New Zealand XI. Siddle is better than him in that he can consistently bowl fast and in the right areas but he doesn’t bowl well enough to take wickets on a consistent basis.

      • The only reason Sharma wouldn’t make the Australian or English X1 at the moment is his age – At 21 they just wouldn’t consider him as a front line test match bowler for a few more years. I’d still have him ahead of Parnell (20) De Wet (29) and McLaren (26), but he’s still a lot to learn.

  4. Another plus for Siddle is his work rate and versatility. Bowling partnerships are essential and he can bowl long spells keeping it tight uphill into the wind or like tonight, as a strike bowler ticking 150kph when needed.

    He still has plenty of improvement in him and he is the type of fast bowler that inspires his team-mates whether he is taking lots of wickets or not.

    He has an uncanny knack of finding surprising seam movement on flat decks and I reckon he’ll easily take 250 Test wickets in his career and if injury free plenty more.

    If there is a bowler in danger of losing his place before next Australian summer it is more likely to be Mitchell Johnson when they go back to England.

    If he bowls all over the shop at Lord’s in the warm-up game against Middlesex, and the ODI against England, then there will be big question marks over his place for the First Test at the same venue.

    • He’s a handy batsman too. All-rounder status beckons.

      • Fred, Johnson or Siddle?

        I agree that Mitch will be in trouble if he bowls are poorly as he did at times in England and nearly all series against the West Indies. But our bowlers can’t bat as a rule and he and Hauritz can, so while in some ways they seem the weak link, they offer better fielding and batting than the rest of the bowlers put together. But Bolly doing so well has put the cat amongst the pigeons well and truly.

        Cameron White looks like a made for first slipper, with a better technique than Marcus North. Far softer hands and he doesn’t look like he’ll get surprised by a ball coming at him which is what North seems like much of the time. It is a great shame as I like North very much but I can’t see him being any more consistent as an international player than he has been in County cricket in England.

    • Hilfenhaus and Bollinger can bowl long spells too. I don’t know how Siddle is versatile, he doesn’t have the delivery that goes away from the right-hander. He looks like he’s putting in a lot of effort because he runs in fast and thumps the ball on a good length. Not that it’s a bad thing but it won’t get you wickets and his record clearly illustrates that.

      • No doubt, if Hilfenhaus or Lee were match fit then Siddle’s would be under pressure to keep his place.

  5. Tooting, I’ve been wondering about that. Pakistan will get alot of support from the local immigrant population in England, but still, it’s not their own country. Will it really make much of a difference? Pakistans problems are internal, not related to where they play. Will Yousuf lead any differently there?

  6. Afridi is infuriating – but he isn’t over-hyped, because he is capable of winning matches on his own and there aren’t many of those about.

    Fred – there will be lots of Pakistan supporters but that’s less important than wickets that will be more familiar to Pak’s players. Lord’s after Day One, is an absolute road.

    • Dodging the question. The pitch wasn’t the problem in Australia.

      • Maybe – and there are plenty of problems for Pakistan right now. That they recently won the World T20 in England suggests that the wickets may be more suited to their batsmen.

        I wish our wickets were more like they are in SA and, especially, Aus.

        • The fact that they won 2020 is an indictment of the format.

          My comment was not just about the wickets, regardless of whether they are or aren’t like the Australian ones, it was about whether Pak will regain its mojo. I know of course they are operating under incredible pressure, being effectively homeless as a team, and coming from a country in turmoil. All that is understood. I’m just wondering if the change from the Australian environment which teams apparently find hostile, to the English environment, will help. Pakistan gave Aus the Sydney the test, through lack of attacking intent, nothing to do with the pitch. Will they have more confidence in England?
          I suspect the answer is no, and that we won’t see Pakistan great again until they have a home base that supports them.

  7. Fred and tooting, the team’s problems aren’t really due to Pakistan’s security/political issues or foreign pitches/crowds. It’s just a leadership vacuum, and it’s blighting confidence and team morale.

    And even in the best of times, this is still one of the weaker recent Pak teams. There’s three or four really talented stars, but they’re either really young or over the hill, and the rest are frankly rubbish.

    That’s pretty much the exact opposite of the Kiwis, who, by and large, outplayed them in both tests and ODIs recently, despite their injury cataclysm.

    The Aussies, rebuilding phase or not, are probably just too good for the current side.

  8. It is very hard to judge just how good this current AU team is up against Pakistan, and likewise, the WI.. there is stuff of magic in it, particularly in the fielding. Pontings catch, Cam White’s catch, and Nathan’s catch were stuff of legend, nothing that can be taught otherwise everyone would be doing it.

    Pakistan were so awful last night. I was at the ground, and there is a lost and sort of detachment in their body language, Afridi seems to be playing some sort of nutso role but it doesn’t get the runs, nor the wickets.

    On the other hand, Ameer is still worth a kings ransom to watch bowl, and as an aside, it puts Broad’s risible tantrums into rational perspective. This kid is 6 years younger but has all the self discipline and aplomb to put Stuart to shame. Yes, he , Ameer is a walking wicket, but he’s not alone in that.

  9. One thing you can say about the Aussies is that their fielding was as good as I have seen by this collection of players in international cricket in the second ODI. It was one of those days where they couldn’t put a foot wrong. Definite boundaries were stopped and the catches were all just swallowed and made to look easy.

    Best fielding I have seen since the Champions League when the Blues and the Bushrangers were putting on a show and a half.

    I felt like Andrew Symonds was roaming around out there somewhere, I just couldn’t see him.

  10. Good point Goro and Pepp, I’d overlooked that explanation, that Pakistan are simply rubbish:) maybe it’s as simple as that, not withstanding a few stars in the team.

    • “Often rubbish” rather than “Rubbish” I venture to suggest.

      Like England, who have graduated to “sometimes rubbish” (like MJ too).


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