Second Test, Day 1: Mohammads make a mountain for Aussies to climb

By Steve Healy

A few days ago, I told my good friend Gigs that I’d be able to report on day one of the cricket. But after doing so, I realised that the Test started on Sunday, the day we were hosting my sister’s Italian boyfriend (who came to Australia on Wednesday) for a barbeque lunch. Very bad luck, but I knew I had the job of reporting to do.

I woke up; a cloudy Sunday was the situation outside my window. It was the sort of Sunday where avoiding Church was inevitable. However, just before I left, the coverage started, and rain was going to postpone the play for the day. It didn’t look that bad, so I thought that I’d miss some during mass. My plan was to bring my radio, and cleverly go to the toilet somewhere between the gospel and the Eucharist. I did just as I planned; I turned on the ABC, but I didn’t hear that heavenly “whoosh” that the ball made when being delivered, and the “clunk” of the bat.

I got home, ran inside, and the play still hadn’t started. I was beginning to believe that God had done this for me, so I wouldn’t miss any of the action. But after a long wait of almost two hours, the cricket still hadn’t started. I was proven false.

Ponting won the toss and chose to bat, and after 20 minutes or so, Watson and Hughes (who had to fly from Melbourne last night to replace the injured Katich) arrived at the crease, and the time was two o’clock. Mohammad Asif bowled the first over of the day (a strange choice to open the bowling) and Watson looked good; he played a fine shot on the leg side for two. But that’s where the fortune stopped for the Aussies. Mohammad Sami (who was one of three changes from the Melbourne test) bowled at the other end, and Hughes was dropped at gully on his first ball. Hughes lasted another nine balls before he was caught in the slips for a duck.

Ponting came in and mistimed a pull shot, which was caught on a diving attempt. 2/2, I couldn’t believe the start. The wet conditions and the grassy pitch were problems, but it was the Aussies more than the conditions. Hussey and Watson couldn’t get any runs on the board.

After hitting a four, Watson was on his way out after snicking it to the keeper. Clarke came in, and was off the mark with a two, but then given out LBW. However, it was reversed after a challenge, which made it the second challenge for the day that had gone Australia’s way at that stage. I would never have thought so, but Hussey was the one who was doing all the attacking. Unfortuately, Clarke was clean bowled by Asif for 3, and the score was at a miserable 4/36. North is given out LBW a few over’s later, but again the Aussies challenged it  and it was overturned, very luckily. The score was 4/42, but it could’ve been even worse. North hit a couple over the rope in succession, but Hussey hooked one over the keeper’s head and was caught without trouble. It was 5/51 and the barbeque was ready.

A couple of hamburgers, two sausages, three chicken wings and a bit of salad later, it was 7/67 and the Aussies were struggling. I decided to listen on the radio while I was eating dessert. Not that I could pay much attention, it was too noisy and all this conversation about Italian culture was still going on.

I left the table, and the TV showed the Aussies on 7/88. Johnson started to go crazy with the bat, which he can do from time to time. The highlight was a massive slog sweep for six. Asif got his fifth wicket, bowling Hauritz for 21. Johnson hit a couple more to the rope, before spooning it to the man at mid off for 38. Asif had six; he is such a good bowler for a medium pacer. Bollinger and Siddle stay in for a little while, before Bollinger gets bowled for 9, by Umar Gul, making it the only Pakistani wicket not taken by a Mohammad.

They were all out for 127, a deplorable total for a side that chose to bat. Could they redeem themselves by taking a couple of early wickets? Channel Nine wouldn’t let me know.

But ABC Radio did. Pakistan put on 14 runs without a loss before bad light was called, which meant I could find a tennis ball and play cricket outside with my brother.

It was a strange day of Italian culture, religion, rain, domination from a pair of Mohammads, a struggling Australian side and a bit of finely cooked meat.

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.

Comments

  1. johnharms says:

    Steve

    Love your last line.

    A very intriguing day’s cricket.

  2. And I love the line about cleverly going to the toilet for a radio update somewhere between the gospel and the Eucharist. Great stuff!

    Pakistan need to make 227 to be par with Australia (according to Gigs’ Law of Test Matches).

  3. Steve you should have gone during the homily, that way you wouldnt have missed out on much.

  4. Steve Healy says:

    Thanks Gigs and JTH,

    sorry Danni, I guess i’ll try to remember next time

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