Second Test, Pakistan v Australia (Abu Dhabi) – Day 1: Same old, same old

Australia, for the must-win Test match to square the series, make two changes. In are Mitch Starc and Glenn Maxwell; out goes Alex Doolan, who only has himself to blame after running himself out in the First Test. I have a problem with poor running between wickets. How in the hell are guys playing Test cricket who can’t run between wickets? Ed Cowan is your classic example. Got run out twice through backing up with his bat in the incorrect hand. If I can coach kids to run between wickets correctly at grade 5, how in the hell are guys getting through to the elite level so poor at a basic skill of the game?? The Almanac’s favourite player, in Watto the wombat, who ironically on these decks is needed, is another example of a poor runner between wickets.

Steve O’Keefe, while disappointing in the First Test, is really a victim of our poor batting (a game which should have been drawn, in all honesty). Basic skill errors, poor selection and I thought complacency cost us. World cricket scheduling problems (as always a lack of proper warm up matches) will continue to harm visiting sides. Twenty20 competitions around the world have a lot to answer for.

Regarding selection, in my opinion we have erred badly in not playing horses for courses. Mitch Marsh has been bought up in Perth. Surely for sub continent conditions the more wristy Moses Enriques is a better bet. And in picking Maxwell, who is not really consistent enough with bat and ball at first class level, are saying that we don’t think we have anyone really suited to the sub-continent?

My next complaint is the toss. Winning the toss at way too many Test match venues just has way too much importance. Here at Abu Dhabi you might as well play five days of two-up! Even back here it is the same. Adelaide Oval with these crap drop-in pitches; if you lose the toss the best result possible is a draw. Test cricket is meant to be a battle between bat and ball not the coin!!

Pakistan win the toss and very early on it is obvious that this is a road and we have more chance of winning lotto than bowling Pakistan out twice. Off to cricket training at Pembroke where we learn that Shehzad has been dismissed lbw by Lyon.

We adjourn to the Kensi after training and watch Johnson dismiss Hafeez. In comes the supreme slow wicket player in Younis Khan and once he gets in, I remark to Smack Daddy: “Two or three for 300 at stumps.”

It wasn’t exactly Nostradamus. Pembroke players will be relieved to learn that PB was at the Kensi. When I get home it is watching “Dancing with the Stars” where Lynne McGranger and Ricki Lee look far more threatening than our bowling attack.

I follow the game on the internet for the rest of the night and learn that Younis Khan is the first player since Herb Sutcliffe in 1923-24 to make three centuries in consecutive innings against the Aussies. Azhar Ali has played the sheet anchor role to perfection and ends up 101n.o . Ho-hum we did not look like taking a wicket all day on a boring, bland, batting paradise road.

Stumps Day 1

Pakistan 2/304

Younis Khan 111n.o., Azhar Ali 101n.o., Mohammad Hafeez 45, Ahmed Shehzad 35

Johnson 1/50, 18 overs (our only threatening bowler), Lyon 1/86, 23 overs.


  1. Got him yes!!!!!!

  2. Tough day at the office, Rulebook.

    I agree with Sal Ciarduli’s analysis that whilst the Aussies might be struggling, so too would the Pakis if they arrived on Aussie soil without a preparation.

    This is the perfect preparation for the Ashes – tough, unrelenting and a belting to quell any run away egos.

  3. Great stuff Rulebook.
    On selection, Starc for O’Keefe looked a funny one at the start of play. Looks a bit funnier now.

    Do you reckon that Test players can be taught skills, or is it too late by that age?
    If it’s too late, why does the national team have a batting coach and a bowling coach on the payroll?
    Is it really all about mental coaching at that point?
    Should the national team better employ a meditation coach? Or possibly a philosophy coach?

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks guys , OBP any we all can learn at any age , other wise don’t bother having coaches re cricket it is idiotic that running between the wickets is not practised from a young age and things like backing up in the wrong hand has crept in to cricket
    I was doing a coaching clinic and sa happened to have played the previous night and
    Cosgrove had been run out thru having the bat in the wrong hand I questioned coach , Wayne Phillips he said he feels more comfortable that way , I replied your coach , Flipper he says I haven’t got a come back to that , Malcolm
    In cricket in general what do we do the most field and it is tacked on at the end of training again idiotic ( test wise this is 1 area they have got write with fielding sessions only ) personally all fore mental coaching quite often at the elite level it is about learning how and knowing how to hang in there , making runs batting ugly eg
    Alan Border !

  5. Eloquent wrap up there Mal. Enjoyable and to the point.

  6. Alan Favell says

    Malcolm, normally when you watch Australia, you have a very good idea of what they are trying to do and how they are trying to get the batters out. However, after tea last night, I had no idea about that. Our offices bowl darts around the wicket! Any chance of bowling over the wicket, landing just outside off stump and have them probing a bit? It’s what they will do to us! The quicks were not consistent enough and it’s too easy to get one off their hip behind square, therefore no pressure! Hope we bat well

  7. Nice job Malcolm. Our form is a concern, but what does it mean? A two-Test series in the UAE, played on roads in front of a dozen patrons who wandered in early for the Billy Joel concert. It is cricket at its most decontextualised.

    Still, let’s hope for a better showing today.

  8. Crisp and effective Book – unlike the Australian team’s performance.

  9. Maxwell should have come in for Marsh, o’keefe should have retained his spot and Hughes should have come in or Doolan.

    You right Rulebook the Aussies are in Asia not Perth. Horses for courses.

    Much has been spoken about our ability to play spin, more to the point is our ability to bowl on these slow, low, deteriorating wickets.

    Clarkes captaincy was simply aweful. It’s as if they had no plan, with him changing his field every second over. I’m for being proactive and making things happen but his leadership was bizarre.

    It’s not over, funny game cricket

  10. Rulebook,
    Unfortunately the coin is ruining many things
    in cricket right now…and not just the toss.

  11. Adam your selections make sense to me. To go a few steps further Siddle, & Starc, who both have poor test records on the sub continent, why chose that pair? No one can ever fault the commitment Peter Siddle shows when he plays for Australia, but he and Starc posed no threats on day one. Would not Peter Faulkner been worthy of inclusion?

    Glen !

  12. Where to start?

    Selection: Maxwell. Why? Phil Hughes, with his 1000 run Shield seasons is running the drinks. Can’t work it out. If someone says, “yeah, but Maxwell bowls spin” – I’ll spew. He bowls part time nudies that deserved to be devoured with the wrappers on.

    Starc. In for a spinner. Not really horses for courses and on a dry deck, surely spin would be preferred? Perhaps the spinners we have over there just aren’t good enough. Perhaps we don’t have spinners of sufficient quality in Australia generally? Makes me want to take up leg spin again at age 40. Anyone who rolls their arm over in 20/20 cricket qualifies as a spinner these days.

    DRS. Aussies don’t get it. We have no plan or tactics when to use it. England have a set play where bowler, keeper and captain quickly confer and generally get it right. Clarke appears to have no idea when to use. Should have used it for Marsh but not for the Big Show. Both times got it wrong. Batsman on 30 odd who goes on to make 100 is a costly decision.

    In all honesty, the Aussies have not given respect to Pakistan. They bat like millionaires with zero patience (Rogers, aside) and look like they can’t wait to get back to Oz to feast on some KFC big bash buckets of chicken.

  13. Loved the running between the wickets rant!

  14. Wayne Abrey says

    Jerk is a better runner between wickets than Watto.
    And to make matters worse, Davie Warner looks very injured. Not good heading into the summer.

  15. Rulebook was that Henriques you were talking about or Julio Igesias. Selection has been diabolical. A wrist spinner is a must for variety and MAxwell as a no 3 is a sad state of affairs. Lucky for the Aussies India are as bad here as we are there so this debarcle will be quickly forgotten.

  16. Suggestions who bats at 3?

    Hughes maybe?

    Makes you think how blessed we have been to have watched such a genius in R Ponting, the best ever in our generation

  17. Need to glue the bat handles to the Aussies at the crease to make sure they know which hand to drop the bat when running it seems!

  18. As I lay on the couch, with my three kids under 7 and wife out trick or treating I reach for my third bottle of wine. The expected rain finally arrives and The serenity is spectacular. I then ponder if rain would be a good result in abooo darbee or wherever thi e f— they are. But that’s not the Aussie way, of thinking, we’re bred to keep attacking and believing we are still a chance. Not that I care all that much but the reds score from a penalty and I have a reason to scream with ecstasy. I’ve just flicked back to the cricket, the scores just popped up again and it’s 3/460. It’s started to rain heavier at home, I hear doors closing. Shit their all Home at least united got up.

    We’re still a chance though right of chasing 480 on the 4th inning in the sub continent ?

    On another note .

    Hads your my hero getting back after 2 hours on the pine sipping lattes after bruising your shoulder. You were extremely brave coming back after adversity. Wouldn’t see Heals, Marshy, Gilly sipping lattes. Toughen up light blue cap.

  19. Luke Reynolds says

    Good points Malcolm, Doolan’s run out and looking at sea against the spinners in the 1st Test could well have ended his Test career. Watto and Ryan Harris very much missed with the ball in this series. And Raj is spot on, this was the perfect series to blood a wrist-spinner. Boyce, Fawad Ahmed or even Muirhead would have been good choices here. No doubt they’ll be thrown on to the big stage during an Ashes series instead.

  20. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Fav , Adam too funky out there with his captaincy must question , Boof as well
    Smokie fair point that
    Glen yep we all love , Siddle great trier but not a sub continent bowler
    Duncs totally agree if you keep dominating the grade underneath you must get picked , Hughes 1st class record demands a decent shot at it and yep
    Maxwell bowls self serve smorgasbord , we lack quality spin bowling
    Adam have loved your comments and Ponting like , Warne are proving to be hard to replace and Haddin mmm bemusing
    Thanks folks

  21. You talk of Doolan. I ask a further question. When number 3 batsmen are chasing big totals and needing to occupy the crease for the next day or so, what in hell are they doing taking risky runs in the first place?

    Glenn Maxwell may have more green baggy caps than I have, but I doubt he can bowl any better :)

  22. Really enjoyable read! Definitely better than watching the Australian team at the moment.

  23. I have no telly or streaming and barely radio. Looks like you’re my voice of cricket for this series, Rulebook.

  24. Lovely Lisa says

    Gough Whitlam can run better between wickets!

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