Second Test, Day 2: Akmal misses 50, Dips’ daughter misses 48 tram

By Damian O’Donnell

The first day back at work is the second day of the second Test in Sydney. The first Pakistan wicket to fall is actually the second (after North dropped a dolly), and the first time I heard a live score was when the second wicket fell. The radio is playing quietly in the background; the old secondhand one.

The second test should be the first for some uncapped Shield cricketers to give them a taste for the big time but the selectors persist with their number one favourites, and the second opportunity for Phillip Hughes should not be regarded as a first rate failure; I give that dubious honour to the captain (Ponting) for his limp wristed pull shot off his first ball faced as the Aussies were in the powerful position (not) of 1 for 2. But that was all yesterday. Today the Aussies need to put day one behind them and treat day 2 like the first day and make a fresh start, even though it is day 2.

If things keep progressing as they currently are, the third day of this test (tomorrow) could be the second day that the Pakistanis take the Aussies to the cleaners with the bat, having already taken the Aussies to the drycleaners with the ball on the first day (which strangely was a Sunday. Normally Sunday would be the second or third day). As I sit here they have powered to 3 for 226 and are hitting the boundary like Blues players hit the casino. The lead is 99. Somehow 99 seems manageable. When it reaches 100 things will be really grim. Count to three and take a deep breath…..one…… two……three.

Umar Akmal is 24 off 11 balls. They’re killing us. Then Yusuf gets caught. He falls for the old two card trick off the sixth ball and plays a flirty bat wave at a short, wide Johnson delivery and feathers it to Haddin who dived across in front of first slip to make the take.  The Pakis are suddenly just a bit vulnerable at 4 for 237. If the Aussies can get two or three quick wickets in the next four overs we could restrict the lead to something under twice our first innings score of one two seven.

After Pakistan’s first two batsmen (Salman Butt and Imran Farhat) hit a three figure opening partnership of 109, the Aussies have been taking wickets but leaking runs. The Pakistanis reach 4 for 257. Umar Akbal is 33 from 22 and Mishbah-ul-Haq is 9 from 12, and the Pakis are going at 3.25 per over. Hauritz and Siddle both have one and Johnson has two. The Aussies desperately need a bowler to take the game by the throat and finish with a 5 fa.

Kerry O’Keefe reckons Akmal bats like he’s got a train to catch; he doesn’t take a ball or two to get his eye in, he starts blasting the attack from ball one and seldom hits ones or twos early, preferring to go for fours and sixes. He’s reached 41 from 29 and is supposedly only 19! Imagine how good he will be when matures a bit and turns 25. By that stage he could be averaging in the high 50s. However, he still needs to learn the value of ones and twos to break the fielding team up.

The Aussie bowling is persistent and somewhat disciplined, but it’s not first rate. Johnson and Hauritz challenge the batsmen only every 10 or twelve balls, Siddle bowls 5 steady balls every six (and one pie), but seems to struggle to climb above that, and Bollinger is a third stringer trying to do the job of a number one or two. Ten out of ten for effort, but probably 5 for effectiveness.

Then at 4 for 273 there is a big appeal from Bollinger’s bowling which the umpire declines. The eleven Aussie players decide to go to the third umpire who takes a minute or two to decide. The commentators on the ABC see a replay from three different angles and decide that out might be a reasonable outcome. The third umpire agrees as Akmal is given out after scoring 49 from 48. The Pakis are 5 for 281, still a solid lead of 154. Bollinger has 1 for 55 off 18 overs.

Dougie Bollinger then makes my summary of him (workman-like) look absurd. His first rate spell results in his second wicket. Pakis 6 for 286. He’s trapped Misbah lbw for 11 off 25.

I’m getting involved in the game when my oldest child rings. Can I pick her up at 5.45 rather than 6.15. Why can’t you catch the 109 or 48 I ask? Because I don’t have the $3 she replies. If I got more pocket money …………….

It means I have to leave in a few minutes. Hope I don’t miss anything.

Ikmal and Sami are at the crease for Pakistan. They lead by 163. I’m intrigued to see how day three pans out.

About Damian O'Donnell

OK – which is the odd one out: Love the Cats and flannelette shirts, especially in winter. I get on extremely well with red wine. We just seem to hit it off. Love horse racing in Spring. Used to love cricket. Go to Stawell every Easter and contemplate life around the fire. Love water skiing, especially in summer. Love a great oil painting. Will read most things put in front of me. Thought ‘The Sorpranos’ was the best TV show ever made – by miles. Run an accounting practice in Melbourne’s suburbs.

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    Dips

    You’re right about the Aussies needing to turn it into a street fight. But Hughes will be feeling a lot of pressure when he walks out. And is Punter fully fit? North also looks like he’s off the boil. They may be missing Katich more than expected.

    We’ll see what they’re really made of.

  2. Peter Schumacher says:

    Hughes made 37 but far from convincing.

  3. Watto’s nick name should now be “What the?”

    Still like Hughes in the long term.

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