Australia v Pakistan – MCG Test, Day 2: Drizzle, Shmizzle.



I think I am still in Brisbane such is the humidity of the weather in Melbourne as we set out to start day two of the rain affected Test.

Azhar and Shafiq are in complete control right from the outset with both players playing some splendid shots all around the ground.

No doubt the pens will be poised to tell the Australian selectors they should have made some changes in the bowling attack. I can see it now: “Bowlers are tired and sore”.

No, the bowlers are not tired and sore.  The Pakistani batsmen are in fine form picking the right balls to score from and packing up for the good ones.  I have the feeling that the visitors are quite prepared to bat for as long as they can and then get the locals on a late spinning wicket

Drizzle delays play for 15 minutes and when they come back Azhar moves on to a wonderful century.  He has been the complete opening batsmen watchful but playing aggressively when the ball demands it.

He has been well supported by the hero of Brisbane Shafiq Assad.  There is always one player in a visiting team that becomes a serial pest and Shafiq has been the perfect pest so far in this series.

More rain and the umpires decide to take lunch early with Azhar 112 and Shafiq 48. Pakistan 4/232. It has been a fine morning for Pakistan as they have added 90 runs without loss .

It is now 3.10pm and there has been no play since lunch much to the disgust of old players and spectators alike. There has been drizzle but no appreciative downpour that would curtail play in my humble opinion.

Must admire the Benauds who have introduced a trio of trumpeters into their group. Quite a fine group of blowers.

So, what does one do when there is no cricket on?  Well I have just picked a cricket XI of animals and birds for one thing. Here is my first attempt.  Players must have played at least one Test match:-

Ashley Woodcock (Aus)

Allan Lamb (Eng)

Jeff Crowe (NZ)

Martin Crowe (NZ)

Neil Hawke (Aus)

Geoff Griffin (SA)

Joe Partridge (SA)

Graeme Swann (Eng)

Rodney Hogg (Aus)

Brad Hogg (Aus)

Nathan Lyon (Aus)

12th Man Jackson Bird (Aus)   –  bit suss with the bat!

Your turn?

I was also lucky enough to catch up with some relatives of E.Regnans, Ian and Justine Graham. No not the Collingwood forward but an Englishman who fell in love with an Aussie girl some 20 years ago

Justine, a passionate cricket fan, makes sure she brings Ian “home” every Boxing Day.  Not a bad little trip from Portsmouth in the UK.  Ian still turns out for the Stansted Park cricket club every Sunday during the English summer alongside the village blacksmith and an indescribable list of locals from his area.

Ian was telling me that it costs clubs 300 pounds per week if their games are washed out. No “ifs or buts”.

If you want to read about D.Wilson’s exploits with Stansted Park go here.

Play resumes at 3.30pm and Australia take the new ball. The first three overs are maidens. Anxious to score a run Azhar calls for a suicide run and is lucky to make it in at the bowler’s end.  Pakistan will be keen to get on with the game and score as many as they can in the remaining 30 odd overs in the afternoon.

Well they don’t and Jackson Bird gets one to move away slightly from Shafiq (50) in to the safe hands of Steve Smith (his third catch for the innings). It has been a fine partnership between of 115 between the two batsmen.  Pakistan 5/240.  Bird has been the most successful bowler with three wickets to date.

New batsman Sarfraz Ahmed is intent on scoring quick runs and Azhar Ali joins in as well but the runs are hard to obtain as Australia are intent on containment.

If you live by the sword you die by the sword and Sarfraz (10) snicks a good one from Hazlewood and Renshaw takes a fine catch. The Big Ship is proving to be a top slipper.  Pakistan 6/268

A much-deserved wicket for Hazlewood who has been exemplary in his approach to this innings 24 overs for two wickets for 25 runs.

Pakistan’s intention is to score quickly now and Mohammad Amir races to 19. One shot off Bird through the covers has been the shot of the day.  He is causing problems for the Aussies late in the day.

Rain again interrupts play and it looks inevitable that the day’s play will be halted as the weather is closing in.  A pity as the visitors have thrown down the gauntlet to Australia who have struggled to take wickets in this test so far

I have no doubt that the Australian selectors are working overtime to try and find a fifth bowler for this team and preferably a player who is an allrounder. That player needs to be a bowler who can bamboozle the opposition with a variety of balls that will have them thinking.

I am thinking but I have no idea who that player could be other than the Victorian spinner Fawad Ahmed.


Ahmed cannot get a game for Victoria but over the last three seasons he has been able to trouble all batsmen when he has the ball in hand and he takes wickets.

Maybe Pat Howard should look more closely at how states select their teams  and that the right players are selected in future given what seems to be his control over the game

That’s it for the day.  Pakistan at stumps 6/310 and even at this stage they look like the only team that can win. Azhar not out 139, a very fine knock indeed and Mohammed Amir 28 in a swashbuckling hand. Jackson Bird 3/91 and Josh Hazlewood 2/333.

A disappointing day and one can only hope that the fickle Melbourne weather fines up tomorrow.



About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Peter Flynn says

    Harold Bird firing blokes.

  2. Peter Flynn says

    Vasbert Drakes

  3. Good call Marvin.
    Umpire. Harold “dicky” Bird.
    My esteemed colleague Melinda Farrell insists Aaron Finch should be in the team. Fags he has not played for Australia in real cricket!


  4. Peter Flynn says

    Tony Mann

  5. Peter Flynn says

    Johnny Martin

  6. Jack Russell

  7. Interesting comments re Fawad, Citrus.
    He is easily the best leggie in Australia, and it was wonderful to see him bowling in the BBL the other night.

  8. Excellent to see you yesterday, Citrus.
    Thanks for popping around.

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    David ‘Fox’ Colley gets in two ways

  10. Luke Reynolds says

    Also in full agreeance regarding Fawad Ahmed. No doubt our squad for the Indian series will be full of finger spinners.

  11. Peter Warrington says

    Jack Badcock is the name of the century

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