Australia v Pakistan – Gabba, Day 5: Enchanting Test cricket
DAY 5 GABBA
It looks like it could be an interesting day given the way Pakistan batted last night. Should have only been six down instead of eight but that is what Test cricket is all about.
This morning’s press was all about the inability of Nathan Lyon to be the key bowler yesterday and the continuing saga between Cricket Australia and Australia Cricketer’s Association in regard to the pregnancy clause in the MOA between the two bodies. CA has declared they won’t meet with the ACA until this Test series is over.
A war of words has been going on since last week and on hopes that the situation is settled soon.
Meanwhile the game is due to start thirty minutes early today and the gates have been flung open for free admission. Expat Pakistanis flock in and they make up most of the crowd of around 1000 keen students of the game.
Much will depend on two factors.
- How will the Australian fast attack recover from yesterday’s epic bowling spells?
- Will Asad Shafiq get assistance from the last two batsmen like he did yesterday and will he control the batting?
Hazlewood and Starc open the attack and they do look a little stiff in their respective actions. Hazlewood was probably the best bowler yesterday although he does not have the figures to show.
Shafiq and Yasir settle in to play the right way. Only playing the balls they need to play either in defence or if short attack.
SPD tries everything to no avail. None of the bowlers look like breaking through as the score slowly mounts towards the total needed. While this is happening the Pakistani team moves higher on the ladder of the biggest score ever achieved in a fourth innings at the Gabba. It is a very impressive effort.
A sharp chance to Lyon is not taken. Called a chance because he just touched it as he leapt high to his left. Nearly impossible. Yasir is given out lbw shouldering arms but the decision is overturned with a DRS review. The score is 8/441 only 49 to get. Everything is going the visitor’s way today.
The score is creeping up and up. In fact the Australians look beaten nothing they do looks like taking a wicket. As discussed yesterday this is when a fifth bowler capable of snagging a wicket here or there is necessary.
Starc eturns with another spell and bowls one to the indefagible Shafiq who can not get out of the way and he dollies a catch to Warner at backward point. Smith and co heave a sigh of relief. It would take an unplayable ball to to get Shafiq out and that is what happened.
So ended a magnificent fighting rearguard action from the diminutive batsmen who had defied and beaten the best Australia could throw at him. All in all he batted for five and a half hours, hit 13 fours and one audacious six of Hazlewood for his score of 137. One of the great test innings.
Smith, making amends for his dropped catches, ran Yasir (33) out when he failed to get back in his crease. The little leggie had batted well also and was there for neary two hours in helping Shafiq.
Starc finished with 4/119, Bird 3/110 and Lyon 2/108.
Pakistan finished 39 runs short in what was a truly remarkable match. Humiliated in their first innings they built a record 4th innings score at the Gabba to nearly take the match.
Administrators will be happy as the crowds will flock in for Melbourne and Sydney now.
Test Cricket continues to enchant those who love it.
Melbourne – bring it on.