Australia v Pakistan – MCG, Day 5: Confessions of a Test Cricket Predictor



Will Australia give it a fly and do a Benaud or a Sobers?

Well the way Mitchell Starc is flaying the bowling there is still a chance that Australia could make a game of it.  35 runs in the first 30 minutes is a good start to the day and it looks like there will be no rain, a rarity for this Test.

Misbah puts on the brakes and sets defensive fields for he now realises that Australia is the only team with a chance of winning. Sohail and Wahab are also bowling wide of the off-stump as well.

Starc is still slashing but he is not cutting any grass.

Rumours have started to abound that O’Keefe is in for Sydney and Lyon is out. He has been withdrawn from a BBL match – there are no secrets.

How would you feel being Nathan Lyon sitting in the dressing room?

Shades of John Benaud years ago when he was dropped for the test in Sydney during the MCG Test. He then went on and made a century (142) also against Pakistan in the second innings.

Starc plays a thrilling innings and has helped set his team up for at least a chance. He makes 84 with 7 sixes (an MCG record) and three fours.  Together he and SPD put on 154 for the seventh wicket and take the score to 608 when he finally is out.

He has set the hearts beating and perhaps there is a chance of a victory knowing the visitors penchant for falling at the last hurdle

The much maligned Lyon comes to the wicket and he and Smith swing the bat until Lyon hits a high caught and bowled to Yasir. Lucky for Yasir he catches it as 3/207 looks much better than 2 for.

Smith remains not out 165 with thirteen fours and one six.  Another great knock from the skipper and he has his team 181 in front.

Great start by Hazlewood and Sami (2) plays on and Pakistan are 1/3 and finish 1/6 at lunch.  The best morning of cricket for the cricket-starved Melbourne public.

A good start after lunch for the Aussies when Starc gets a beauty past Babar (3) lbw and Pakistan are 2/6.  Starc has a bit of life in his bowling. It is an amazing thing the psyche of sporting people. Starc had played a marvellous innings and it obviously lifted his confidence quite a few notches and there was zip and fire in his deliveries.

Pakistan need to consolidate and they have their two best campaigners in Azhar and Younus at the

wicket.  They weather Hazlewood and Starc without too many anxious moments.

Lyon comes in to the attack.  I wonder how he is feeling?

After a few overs I think he is feeling pretty good. Two wickets in one over!  Younus (24) brilliantly caught by Handscomb at short leg and two balls later Misbah(0) sweeps and Maddinson takes the catch.  Suddenly Pakistan 4/63.

Has the fifth test team been selected yet?

The game is alive and Australia are running hot.


Handscomb and Lyon combine again!

Shafiq out for 12.  Pakistan 5/89

At tea Pakistan 5/91 and the crowd should double for the last session.  It should be a ripper.

Smith shows his conservatism when he brings on Starc from Garry’s End. Why not number 3? SPD is prone to give Starc first chance every time instead of gambling on his other bowlers or at least showing faith in them.

Well it’s not Starc but Hazlewood who gets the prize wicket of Azhar Ali. Ali on 45 is given not out by the umpire Australia request a DRS and he is on his way lbw Hazlewood.  Pakistan 6/101.

Sarfraz and Amir are defying the Australians and the deficit is dwindling run by run. With 38 to get Amir(11) plays on to Bird and the crowd erupt.  Pakistan 7/143

Another 10 runs  and  Starc’s great day continues when he bowls Sarfraz (43) with a pearler which clips the top of the stumps. Pakistan minus 28

With 22 runs needed Starc strikes again when another ripper rips through Wahab (0).

Pakistan 9/159.  Fifteen overs to go.  Starc “Man Of The Day” 84 runs and 3 wickets – so far.

This has been a fine performance by Australia’s premier bowler.

His performance gets better and betterer (my word) and he takes the last wicket as well.  Yasir (0) hits it high in the air and Bird takes a safe catch.  Pakistan all out for 163 runs. Starc 4/36.

The rest of the Australian attack also played their part.  Hazlewood2/39, Bird 1/46 and a great comeback by Nathan Lyon 3/33.

Still the mystery or should I say the $64 question.  Will Lyon be in the team for Sydney?  Not the squad, the team!

Four days of uninspiring cricket, on a wicket made for batsmen and a lot of frustrated bowlers and spectators turned in to one of the great Test matches of all time.

How can you sum up a game like this?  All I can say is this is what the game is all about.

Stick the T20 up your jumper and all the other “make-up” games – they just are not the greatest game of all .

TEST CRICKET is the winner again.



About Bob Utber

At 84 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he has always done since growing up on a small farm at Lang Lang. Talking, watching and writing sport and in recent years writing books. He lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny) and a groodle named 'Chloe on Flinders' and can be found at Deakin 27 every day.


  1. Great series of reports.

    Is it just me or are the 20/20s labouring in comparison to the very good test matches we’ve experienced this summer? They are just a bit boring really

  2. Correct Grapevine Test Cricket has been the winner this summer.
    Have I met you hanging around somewhere?

  3. Not sure Bob. I’ve been to a few Almanac lunches. I was introduced into the Almanac family by John Burke

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