Second Test, Pakistan v Australia (Abu Dhabi) – Day 5: The cream and the crock

“Hey, before you leave us by the side of the road
I want to tell you ’bout the little I know
It’s the cream, it’s a crock”

– The cream and the crock, You Am I

 

Pakistan 6d/570 (Younis Khan 213, Azhar Ali 109, Misbah-ul-Haq 101)
Australia 261 (MR Marsh 87, Imran Khan 3/60)
Pakistan 3d/293 (Misbah-ul-Haq 101*, Azhar Ali 100*)
Australia 246 (SPD Smith 97, Zulfiqar Babar 5/120, Yasir Shah 3/44)
Pakistan wins by 356 runs

Pakistan wins the two Test series 2-0

Start of play Day 4
Australia 4/143, SPD Smith 38*, MR Marsh 26*

 

Well.
MR Marsh hung around for almost a session.
SPD Smith for two balls after the lunch break.
Well done, them.
But the rest were an embarrassing procession.
Lost the last 5 wickets for 8 runs.
Pakistan were too good.

 

The cream.
Too skilful.
Too patient.
Too willing to sacrifice individual flair for the team goal.
Too disciplined.
Too dedicated.
Too hungry.
This series was played far from Pakistan homes.
Far from Pakistan supporters.
And yet.

 

The underdogs.
Came good.
The team whose specialist bowlers had played just 2, 8, 3 and 1 Test match.
Rolled Australia.
Walloped Australia 2-0.
The team that recently beat South Africa in South Africa.

 

And it wasn’t even close.
Fastest fifty in Test history.
Equal fastest hundred in Test history.
First time since the 1970s that the same pair scored centuries in both the first and second innings.
On and on it goes.
Whop.

 

So…
What’s going on for Australia?
The crock.
Did Australian cricket take this series seriously?
Isn’t it a Test series?
Do all understand the significance of this?
Don’t we have a proud lineage to maintain that includes Victor Trumper, Stan McCabe, Bill Woodfull, Keith Miller, Bill O’Reilly?
Are some Test matches more important than others?
Is there a ranking system?
Is this reflected in the record books?
Why would any Australian citizen now take an interest in Test cricket?
Isn’t Test cricket supposed to be the pinnacle of the sport?
Aren’t Test berths traditionally highly prized acknowledgements of years of consistent performances and effort?
Hasn’t tactical nous been an important attribute of cricketers since around about 1880?
Isn’t it worth considering first class performances when selecting the Test side?
Are we surprised that the United Arab Emirates pitches took spin?
Shouldn’t we pick a squad and players with skills appropriate to the task?
Why would I care about the cricket when players themselves seem not to?
Why would I bother?
Shall I look elsewhere for entertainment?
Who chooses to follow a team without an ability to fight back from adversity?
Are flat track bullies who fall apart under a modicum of pressure typically popular?
Does Cricket Australia expect strong Test attendances in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney this summer?
Why do players attack recklessly, when a match may only possibly be saved through the preservation of their wickets?
Has anyone practicing logic reviewed this plan?
Is it reasonable to expect players to have a SOLID grasp of elementary cricket skills (and when to apply them)?
Are physical cricket skills teachable beyond age 20?
Is a person hothoused and academy-ised throughout his adolescence teachable at all?
If you lose the toss and bowl first in the desert, is the match lost?
Has anyone associated with Australian cricket heard of Plato?
Why do my children seem to have a deeper understanding of resilience and philosophy than adult males representing Australia?

 

Plato would say:
Listen.
Think more.
Become good, wise, calm, kind.
Find new heroes.
Learn courage, self-control, reasonableness, independence and calm.
Practice it. It’s philosophy.

 

Well played, Pakistan.
Australia,
the road is long.
Start now.

 

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 is married and has two daughters and the four of them all live together with their 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.

Comments

  1. Very thoughtful ER. And therefore redundant.
    In the modern world sport, entertainment and business co-exist. Frequently alternating in their primacy and aspects sometimes almost disappearing from view.
    An early example was the Harlem Globetrotters when they were on tour with the perennially hapless Washington Generals.
    It looked like sport, but was an entertainment business putting on primarily for the promoter’s benefit and to some small degree – the players.
    In this series we got to play the ‘time honoured’ bum of the month role pioneered by boxing and basketball promoters.
    TV revenues in Pakistan and the sub-continent will have doubled, and the dividend will trickle down to CA over time.
    There is no logical reason at all why our modern day cricketers should care to modify their techniques and attitudes to adapt to conditions they will not see again for another 5 years.
    Money doesn’t talk, it sneers.

  2. A plato baked beans maybe. Sucker for a You Am I reference – can’t help thinking of The Man You Want Me to Be in the context of the current Australian team. At least we have confirmed what we had seen earlier in Steve Smith.

  3. Keiran Croker says

    Warner, Smith & Marsh showed something. Though just when you think Johnston might be an all rounder he gets a pair.
    Not to worry, back in Aus we will be on hard fast tracks. Johnston, Siddle, Stark, Harris , Patterson & co will scare the be-jesus out of the Indians and we will feel good and forget that we are not really that good.

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Statistically as bad a Test series loss as we’ve ever had. Leaves me with a Heavy Heart. While we’ve been Cathy’s Clown here, still confident our Soldiers will be back firing Jewels & Bullets and doing some Damage against India this Summer in our own conditions.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    A inept performance we wait and see if there are any repercussions . Maxwell to bat 3 is the worst selection since , Chris Mathews played and Lawson was made 12th .
    John Watkins etc . Bewildering in that the plans in South Africa were well thought out here they were bizarre to say the least thanks , OBP ( will there be mental scarring ? )

  6. Tom Martin says

    Ten years ago I would have felt a sense of personal humiliation at a loss of this magnitude. Now it gives me a sick sense of satisfaction. Cricket Australia and the players deserve this. At least Pakistan are still playing Test cricket.

  7. G’day all. thanks.
    Coverage of this farce is strange. Online I’ve seen both a puzzling kind of resignation “We’re never any good in Asia;” along with a laugh-seeking line of commentary “what else did we expect to see?”
    I hope these are not the attitudes of those in charge.

    Neither very helpful.

    Pleasing (though hypocritical) to read nothing of match-fixing possibilities.

Leave a Comment

*