First Test, Pakistan v Australia (Dubai) – Day 1: Daal biryani

Darren got his results, she told him.

What’s tha?

His leaving results, said Veronica. He got them.

Jimmy Snr tried to sit up.

Well? he said.

Seven honours, said Veronica. Isn’t it marvellous?



How many subjects was he doin’, again?

Guess, said Veronica.

Seven, said Jimmy Snr. Jesus, that’s brilliant. Seven.

p276 The Van, Roddy Doyle



Pakistan 4/219 (Younis Khan 106, Azhar Ali 53, MG Johnson 3/22) from 90 overs.


Heard M Clarke on the radio today.

Did ya? What’s he floggin now?

What’s that?

Was it a sports drink? A punt? I know; it was a casino. ‘Come here and be like me; astute thinker on sport, glamorous women surrounding me… Come on down.”

He does bat out of his league, doesn’t he?


He’s married that Kyly.

I know. He tweets pictures of them having dinner.

He doesn’t

He does.


No, no. He was talking of a Test match.

Oh yeah?

Yeah, starting tonight.


No mate. It’s in Sharjah or Dubai or Qatar or something. Against the Pakis.

Oh jeez. Desert cricket.


It’s baking hot there.

Dubai, it was.

But still, M Waugh would still have worn a sleeveless while batting.

Course he would have.


Look out. It’s starting.

Look at MR Marsh there on debut getting no male affection from his old man.

It’s just a hat presentation.

And another debut here with SNJ O’Keefe scoring his from DM Jones.

Nice touch.

Do you reckon Deano told him about the heat of Madras?

Who’s out from the last Test, then?

In South Africa?


JL Pattinson and SR Watson and RJ Harris.

So someone’s back in?

PM Siddle.


They’re tossing.


Pakis will bat.

We’ll need 8 or 9 quick ones here.



MG Johnson.

Wasn’t he brilliant last summer?

He was. Brilliant. It’s all history now, though.



That’s plumb.

That’s an inswinging yorker to the big toe.


He’s still got it.

Ahh, he’s referred that.

Come on. Makes S Watson’s referrals look doubtful.

That’s clownish.


Mohammad Hafeez   lbw MG Johnson 0 (1/1, 0.5 overs)


First over; 1 fa.

Love it. But there’s no one here.

It’s 43 degrees, mate.


I know. It’s awful.


Ah, here we are.

Oh he’s not going to enjoy that replay.

What was he doing there, yer man Ahmed Shezad?

Flicking ‘im for a lazy couple to leg, I’d say.

Bowled him.

Round his legs, too.



Ahmed Shehzad b PM Siddle   3 (2/7, 3.1 overs)


Sids is fit.

Say something about vegetables, go on.

He’ll need to be fit. This is yer Younis Khan, now.

Looks good, doesn’t he?

Soft hands.

Ahh, so throw the pill to SNJ O’Keefe on debut.

He’s astute, that MJ Clarke.

Everyone says so.


So he’s bowling Johnson, Siddle, O’Keefe and Marsh for the first 20 overs, is he?

Looks like it.

What’s wrong with yer man NM Lyon?

Here he is, bowing the 22nd.

These two should dig in, now.

Not troubled.


Lunch: Pakistan – 2/50 in 29.0 overs (Azhar Ali 24, Younis Khan 14)


Dubai, eh?

Why would ya?



Who bloody knows.


These two could bat forever.

It’s conceivable.

Not at all bothered, are they?

Brutally hot.

Like Perth.

Like everywhere soon enough.


Need a breakthrough now.

Is that the 100 partnership?

It is. Good rescue mission.

They’ll get themselves out from here.

Just keep the pressure up.

Let me guess – good areas?

Cut it out.

You’re right. But it will come. Always does.


Got im.

There we are.

Concentration snap.

Caught at short cover.

By the Wild Colonial Reflex Boy

Astute captaincy?

Heat-affected batting.


Azhar Ali c AJ Doolan b MG Johnson 53 (3/115, 52.5 overs)


Here’s yer unflappable captain now; Misbah-ul-Haq.

In no hurry, is he?

No need to be.

I like that.


Tea: Pakistan – 3/125 in 57.0 overs (Younis Khan 52, Misbah-ul-Haq 8)


Slow day’s play.

You were expecting something different?


Not troubled, these two, are they?



Do you reckon they get local food at the lunch and tea breaks?

I’d say so. No one’s freighting their own baked beans any more, are they?

Do you like that biryani?

I do. Plain. Stable.

Me too.

Daal biryani.

Ahh, lentils and rice.

That’s these two now.

Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq.

Daal biryani.


NM Lyon and SNJ O’Keefe lambs to the slaughter here.


Give yerself a chance.


Well the daal biryani is no hurry, that much is clear.

Maybe they’re playing for rain.

Playing for the draw, you reckon?


MG Johnson still thumping in.

PM Siddle the same.

They’re fit enough.

But are they thoughtful enough?


What would Dizzy Gillespie do now?

Yeah – a little chicken dance to the wicket?

Tongue poking out?

Merv would give ‘em the 24 yard-er.

Or the one out of the back of the wrist.

Mix it up lads.

Make it happen.



Younis Khan is a genius here.

He can see a ton for the taking.

What is he now?



What about now?


Ahh, would you look at that?

Footwork of a marionette.

Six over long on.

Look at that: it’s his 25th Test ton.

Equals Inzy’s record.

Well batted.

Still. That’s 80 overs gone now.

New pill?

Yep. Here’s MG Johnson.

Oooh, jeez.

That’s jagged back.

And quick.

Back pad.


Younis Khan lbw b Johnson 106 (4/198, 80.2 overs)


Another review wasted.

Well batted, though.

Well batted.

Ten overs of the new pill to survive.

Three wickets to MG Johnson.


Dubai is not even in Pakistan, is it?

No mate. United Arab Emirates.



Why are we not playing in Pakistan?



Unsafe. Shots fired at cricketers remember? The whole world’s going mad.

Some bits faster than others.


That’s about it.


Do you ever wonder about the legitimacy of this cricket that’s on here?

You mean whether or not it’s compromised?

Yeah. Match-fixing.

Well, yes, I do.

Me too.

It’s unsettling.

It is.


This last over from NM Lyon is a beauty.

Men all around the bat.

That’s massive turn to just miss off.

Good bowling.

Ohh, how’s that?

Given not out.

Australia will review this.

Lbw’s are hardly ever overturned though.

Not out stands.

Oh, and yer Asad Shafiq shoulders arms to the last ball of the day.

Can you believe that?

Is it hitting the pegs?

That’s a cracking appeal

Umpire says not out.

Will they review it?

Look it’s clipping off stump on the replay.

No, they’re not reviewing.

Asad Shafiq living dangerously.


Stumps: Pakistan – 4/219 in 90.0 overs (Misbah-ul-Haq 34, Asad Shafiq 8)


Kind of a nothing day, wasn’t it?


Except for Younis Khan.

Daal biriyani.

It was a daal biriyani day.

About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He shares the care of two daughters and a dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. Lovely writing.
    Get a life.

  2. E.regnans ha, ha, ha!

  3. Malcolm Rulebook Ashwood says

    Thanks OBP and I counted when they had a camera shot over the ground a stunning 23 spectators

  4. Thanks.
    Khan’s a magnificent player.
    Couldn’t help thinking that at 2 for few most modern sides would attempt “to regain the initiative” (aka blast out of jail)
    This was an exceptional, calculated response. Exhaust the bowlers. No respite. It is a Test series. Plenty of time – and the pitch is as good as it will get.
    Clarke had to share the load on his willing attack.
    As always, first hour really interesting tonight (and long may they play in UAE with the perfect 5pm – midnight Aussie timeslot!)

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks Dave, your write up more entertaining than the actual days play. But well ground out by Pakistan and Younis. We could have done with a (specialist) wrist spinner instead of a second finger spinner.
    Spot on Crio, the timeslot is wonderful!

  6. Younis has been a top batsmen for a long time. Interesting he’s equalled Inzys record of tons. How do we rate them with chaps like Hanif Mohammed, Javed Miandad, Zaheer Abbas in the ranks of great Pakistani batsmen?


  7. We can’t Glen. We just don’t see them. We were lucky enough to have Zaheer, Majid and Javid out to australia but their genius was obviously on the rough, dry decks abroad in trying conditions. aussie journos just tended to emphasise the “no LB law” and decry a weakness against short balls – any australian failure over there was vindicated by “bad decks”.
    A great by product of pay TV is seeing these blokes work their craft against other opponents.
    Great Pakistani batsman is a unique category

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Younis could be the last of the great Pakistani batsmen for a very long time. I had high hopes for Umar Akmal but he’s been pigeon holed as a short form player at the moment.
    In my time watching the game Saeed Anwar and Yousuf Youhanna/Mohammed Yousuf were wonderful players who don’t quite get the kudos they deserve. Apart from Younis Khan, would any other current Pakistani batsman get a game for Australia, Sri Lanka, India, South Africa, England or New Zealand?

  9. PB – life in check. Didn’t see / hear a ball bowled.

    Glen/crio – I read today that Younis Khan is the first Pakistani to score a ton against all Test playing-nations. How that helps in the impossible comparisons, I’m not sure, as opportunities to play against different nations changes so much over the years.
    Must be worth something, though. It would indicate an adaptable, wide-ranging and enduring successful technique.

  10. David- funny, probing, insightful. Great dialogue, I’m sure, is hard to write, and you make it seem easy. Well done.

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