Australia v Pakistan – MCG Test, Day 1: When Smith invited Lyon

Boxing Day in Melbourne is hot and steamy. Both teams should be happy with this as it is like weather was in Brisbane last weekend.

My leadup to the game has been reading the wonderful Almanac about Footscray’s wonderful if not surreal year. It would have to be the most passionate book I have ever read and Christmas day saw me engrossed in the passion of people.

wb cover jpeg[Read about it here – Ed]

Always been a fan of Liam Picken (42) and the more I read the more my admiration is for Billy’s Boy.  His dimensions as a football just grew and grew this year.  No fanfare, no videos, no TV interviews just get out there and play your part.  Picken’s finals performances where outstanding to say the least.

Spent the first part of the day at the very impressive had over of a message stick from the first match between Aborigines & T.W.Wills  versus Melbourne Cricket Club played on 26th and 27th December 1866. Martin Flanagan’s articles in The Age are well worth reading as a lead up.

Will any cricketer reach 42 today  I wonder?

No change in the Australian side and Pakistan swap Rahat for Sohail.

Pakistan win the toss and choose to bat on what looks like an interesting wicket.

Surprisingly the attendance is not as strong as expected and at the start of play there is probably only 20,000 people in attendance.  There is no doubt that the effects of Christmas Day have taken their toll and many fans have decided to stay at home and recover from what was a very trying day.

I think the players must have hangovers also as the game just drifts along right from the start.  The Australian bowlers are on target and the batsmen are playing everything on merit.  There was no hurry-up in either side.

After nearly an hours play Lyon comes on to bowl to a Warne-like applause. Lyon, who has been much maligned this season, has turned into the supporters darling.

The applause is deafening when with his third ball he turns one away from Sai for Smith to take a simple catch.  Sami 9 and Pakistan 1/18. A good move by Smith.

Ali is batting soundly and is joined by Babar who is becoming my favourite Pakistani player. The wicket is very docile and they take the score comfortably to 60. Hazlewood has the last over before lunch and he takes the wicket of Babar (23) beautifully take by Steve Smith at second slip.

Unfortunate for Pakistan as 1/60 at lunch would have looked much better than 2/60.  An even session with the batsmen not looking at attacking Starc and Hazlewood but content on keeping them out and wearing them down.

The Australian attack where miserly throughout the session and did not give anything away.

Younis came to the wicket after lunch hoping to redeem himself for the woeful shot he played in Brisbane last week.

Ali has batted well and has not looked in any trouble at all.  Younis is, what looked like, plumb LBW but a DRS reprieves him.  He goes soon after to a beautiful ball from Bird which beats him neck and crop.  A ripper.  Younis 21 and his team 3/111.

Misbah looks totally miffed hits a six and a four and then is magnificently caught by Nick Maddinson (will this be the making of the young tyro?) at short leg.  His age looks like it has caught up with the skipper.  Pakistan 4/125, Misbah 11.

Starc enters the attack.  Smith always comes back to Starc as soon as a wicket falls.  Looks much like a player running off after kicking a goal in the AFL (the most absurd coaching move ever) but Smith has so much faith in Starc.

Bird is bowling with fire and is beating the bat and making the batsmen feel uncomfortable.

Ali all of a sudden starts to attack and hits three fours in quick time.  He will have a fine partner in Shafiq who had a great match in Brisbane and nearly won the match for his team.

The day has been humid with a slight drizzle in the last few minutes. The players leave the field and take tea with Pakistan 4/142.

The one saving grace of no cricket is the fact you can catch up with all your old mates and then dissect the cricket that is being played today compared when we were young.  The sentence always started “in my day” and concluded usually with “they need to have a hard look at where cricket is heading.” It certainly makes for heated discussions that by the end of the day have not made any headway.

Well that’s it for Boxing Day 2016.  Disappointing in the end for the crowd of 51,852 but at least they will be able to go home early and get to bed at a reasonable hour.  That is unless you are a Bulldogs supporter and can watch the Grand Final again.

Pakistan 4/142     Azhar Ali 66 n.o and Shafiq Asad 4 n.o.   For Australia Bird 2/53, Lyon 1/42 and Hazlewood  1/15.

Hazlewood is having a wonderful summer and was the best of a very consistent attack.  No signs of fatigue amongst the bowlers from this little cat.



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. Chris Bracher says

    G’day Bob
    You lost me when you started banging on about Bloody Footscray again.
    The Bloodstainedangel

  2. Nice of you to read me BSA. What a season Liam Pickens had. Have you read the book?

  3. Chris Bracher says

    No I haven’t Bob. No books, no articles, no DVDs related in any way to the 2016 GF will ever be read/ viewed. I think you will understand!
    Enjoy the cricket mate…I may pop In there one day this week.

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