Cricket

Australia vs Pakistan: 1st Test Review

Pakistan’s only flaw in Test cricket is that they do Pakistan things

A sad reminder that today was 5 years since Phil Hughes suffered his fatal accident at the SCG.


Australia 580 defeated Pakistan 240 & 335 by an innings and 5 runs @ The Gabbatoir

POTM: Marnus (Insert Surname Joke Here) (Aus) – 185 and a few leggies


As the Test match summer got underway, Azhar Ali won the toss and elected to do a reverse Nasser Hussain at The Gabba (Bat first), and Australia got off to a great start, when David Warner held up the anthem ceremony because he couldn’t find his baggy green.

Davey eventually asked Cameron Bancroft if he could borrow his baggy green, since he’s had good experience pressuring Bangers into making decisions he might regret.


Pakistan 1st Innings (240 all out)

It is kind of forgotten looking at that score, but Ali and Shan Masood on Thursday did what no visiting team had done before- Hold Australia wicketless in the opening session of Day 1 of a Gabba test, making it to lunch at 0/57.

Masood and Ali kept it going for a couple more overs following the resumption, allowing them to grab another slice of history, as the best 1st Innings partnership by a visiting team at the old ‘Wolloongabba’, beating the Kiwi pair of John Wright and Bruce Edgar.

Pat Cummins found the right length and struck 6 overs after Lunch getting rid of Masood for 27, and Hazlewood removed Azhar via Joe Burns for 39 next over, and Pakistan were looking like pulling a serious Pakistan.

Haris Sohail was not the great man Bill Lawry claimed he was, getting dismissed by Mitchell Starc for 1, and Pakistan had lost 3 wickets for just 2 runs.

Azam came in with big wraps after his good work in the lead-up matches, but his innings ended up being a brief one, lasting just 4 balls for 1 before Burns took another catch in the slips.

4 for 3 in 39 deliveries, and fair to say Pakistan were Pakistaning this one, big time.

Asad and Ahmed tried their best to stabilise the Pakistan innings, but Lyon came on and struck first ball, drawing the edge from Ahmad, and Labuschagne at short leg took the catch, and Pakistan were in a fair bit of trouble at 5/94.

In the meantime, Tim Paine was picked up on the stump mic using his unusual methods of digging into the new batsman in Mohammad Rizwan, commenting on his replacing of Safaraz Ahmed as keeper, but also complimenting his rather nice smell.

From Fox Sports Australia

Rizwan and Asad made it to Tea 5 down for 125, and after the break, Rizwan came out swinging, but Cummins had the last laugh, getting him caught behind, although it was very contentious, as no part of Cummo’s foot appeared to be behind the line, but the 3rd Umpire somehow had similar vision to Superman, and decided a small part of the heel was behind the line on first contact.

Now unless Cummo was wearing heel extensions, that’s 99.99% a no-ball.

With the fuse lit, the Twittersphere exploded, as the Chitting Aussies had struck again, and I assume small sects of India’s fanbase mentioned the 2008 New Years Test for absolutely no reason, other than the fact that they’ll never recover from that match, no matter how much they pummel Bangladesh into submission.

Asad was amply supported by Yasir, as they pushed the Pakistan total past 200 with an 84 run partnership, with Asad passing his half-century, as he easily top-scored for the Pakistanis.

As soon as the 80th over ticked by, the Aussies took the new ball and gave it straight to Starc, who warmed up by wrapping Yasir on his pads, and then followed it up with the perfect yorker that creamed the off-stump.

Shaheen Afridi trotted out, and first ball edged one straight to Paine, which was given not out by Umpire Illingworth, and Paine developed a new case of DRS heebie jeebies, but gave a forceful T for a referral after a second opinion from Smudge, and it was a good call, because Afridi had whacked the cover off the ball.

Starc was on a hat-trick, and Naseem Shah, the 16-year-old on debut, had to face the hat-trick ball.

I think he’d rather spend a day listening to Shane Warne talking about how he’s only 16 years old.

Did you know Naseem is only 16 years old?

I didn’t know he was 16 years old.

Anyway, Naseem somehow survived his brush with death, getting an edge that nearly dragged onto the stumps, and then decided the adrenaline wasn’t enough, and tried running himself out just to get off the mark.

He did eventually.

Cummins took his 3rd wicket by cleaning up Asad for 76, and then 5 minutes before stumps, Starc caught and bowled Naseem, and Pakistan were all out for 240, which was a good recovery after their top order was torn to shreds by the Aussie pace attack.

Very consistent bowling all-round from the Antipodeans, as Starc finished with 4 wickets, Cummins with 3, Hazlewood with 2, and Lyon with 1.


Australia 1st Innings (576 all out)

The dress-ups were in full swing as Dave Warner and Mr Burns trudged out to the crease on Day 2- The Richies were out in force, and everyone else was dressed up as a seat.

We also finally got a look at what Naseem Shah could do with the cherry in his hand, and if he is indeed a lab expierment formed from combining the DNA of Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar and Waqar Younis.

His first over in Test cricket- 145.3 km/h, 147.6, 143.9, 144.4, 147.0 and 147.7 km/h- A lazy average of 145.98 kph.

A few years into his body, and he’ll be steaming in from the boundary rope like the Rawalpindi Express.

Free from the immediate threat of Stuart Broad, Warner looked free and reached his half-century, although his innings appeared to come to an end on 56, when he flashed at Naseem and bottom edged through to Mohammad Rizwan, which should have been the 16-year-old’s maiden test wicket….

Only to realise the young fella had overstepped the mark, one of the few times that was actually called by the umpire, as they apparently missed about 21 no-balls from the Pakistanis in the opening 2 sessions alone, according to the ‘iPadophile’ Trent Copeland (A bit off there, it was just a massive touch screen)- Naseem bowled 3 in the over Warner was originally dismissed.

Now see there, Naseem’s biggest problem is that his name isn’t Pat Cummins.

After a nervy Tea session in which he sat and waited on 98, Warner put a smile back on everyone’s dial and reached his long-awaited first Test ton since his return, his 22nd in all, and it was apparently the 4th time he’s scored a ton after being dismissed on a no-ball, which might be pushing towards some sort of record that isn’t kept by anyone.

The other 3 I know of were; Varun Aaron in Adelaide 2014 (The Phil Hughes Test), Wahab Riaz during the Boxing Day Test of 2016, and then most memorably, Tom Curran on Boxing Day in 2017, which was Dave’s last century prior to Friday.

If you ask me, nothing will top the utter hilarity that was Curran overstepping when Warner hit that utterly stupid shot on 99, only to realise he’d earned a reprieve.

Funnily enough, just like Naseem, that was also due to be Curran’s maiden test wicket.

Warner and Burns kept up their 200 run average partnership with another 200+ run opening stand, which came to an end on the Richie Benaud special of 222, when Burns, much like Bill Waterhouse, departed on 97, when he tried sweeping Yasir Shah, who trapped Smokin’ Joe like a stuck pig around his legs, and dragging on to the stumps.

As Australia took the lead, Warner reached 150, and his brilliant luck continued when an inswinging peach from Imran Khan clipped the stumps…. but the bails somehow stayed on!

Must have been those heavy bails they used at the World Cup.

The lucky lucky bastard made it to stumps on 151, and Marnus LaBouche, who was batting with sweet dreams of rhythm and dancing, punched out another half-century.

If there’s one long-term positive that’s come out of the Sticky On The Dicky Saga, and Steve Smith getting concussed at Lord’s, it’s the emergence of the South African version of Steve Smith as a solid No.3.

Warner lasted an hour into Day 3, which made it the longest innings of his Test career (296 balls, beating the 286 he took to score 253), but only added 3 more runs overnight, before Naseem finally got him with a legal delivery, bowling a bouncer which drew an edge, and Rizwan took a sharp low catch.

Labuschagne was trapped LBW for 93, but he reviewed straight away and had it overturned thanks to an inside edge, and the demigod that everyone had come to see in Steve Smith had strolled out, done his weird fidgety business, hit a boundary, and then he tried flaying Yasir to some foreign part of the leg side, but the spinner fooled him completely with a quick and straight delivery that skittled Smith for a mere 4 runs, the 7th time in 10 attempts that Yasir has dismissed the modern day Don.

Labuschagne fortunately stayed afloat, and the Banana Bender brought up his maiden Test ton by flashing an edge through the slip cordon.

I think the question should be asked- On the back of this pitiful effort with the bat, should Steve Smith be dropped?

For goodness sake, the man hasn’t even hit a Test century in 3 months!

After a much improved 1st Session from Pakistan, Matthew Wade arrived and heaped more pain on the visitors with another 100 run partnership throughout the middle session, bringingup a half-century, and Marnus passed his 150, with the partnership coming to an end when Wade fell for 60 to some sharp glovework from Rizwan off the bowling of Haris Sohail.

Hail Richie, Hail the Great Man! Hail!

Head and Paine provided brief cameos before they went cheaply, and it was 5/532 for Tea, Marnus Island on 171, and the lead went past 200 thanks to a pair of boundaries to the man of the moment.

As the lower order wickets began to tumble, Labuschagne finally fell for 185, with Babar and Afridi getting the breakthrough, but with a session and 2 days to play, Paine didn’t go for the declaration.

The Aussies were eventually bowled out for 580, as Yasir brought up his double century with little fanfare, to go with his 4 wickets.


Pakistan 2nd Innings (336 all out)


Trailing by 340 runs, Pakistan immediately copped a hammer blow to the back when Ali was given out LBW off Starc for 5, which he reviewed, and watched as it stayed with the Umpire’s Call.

Haris Sohail only made it to 8 before he too fell to Starc, and 2 overs later, things just kept getting worse for Pakistan, with Asad going for a duck after edging Cummins to Smith at second slip, leaving them begging for the eight count at 3/25.

Masood and Babar got to stumps without further loss at 3/64, and they moved the score along to 93 without further loss the next morning, despite coming up against more awful comments about personal hygiene, this time in a would-be sledge from Lasagnachampagne, who made a strange comment involving ‘Colgate’ that fell a good 50 feet short of the target.

From Fox Cricket

Of course, what do you call a scandal about someone with bad breath?

Colgate.

That partnershiplasted until Pat Cummins had Masood caught behind by Paine for 42, and Ahmed would last just 4 balls before Hazlewood had him caught behind for a duck.

Pakistan were in a hole the size of the Kalgoorlie Super Pit at 5/94, when Rizwan, in just his second test, joined Babar at the crease.

In the face of what appeared to be a very certain defeat, Babar powered along in a massive turnaround from his 1st Innings disappointment, and reached his ton off 160 balls, becoming just the 3rd Pakistanti to score a ton at the Gabba, after Asad Shafiq in 2016, and Saeed Anwar in 1999.

In a match that was darker than Frankie Boyle’s sense of humour for Pakistan, Babar’s innings was a beacon of light.

Rizwan also brought up a milestone with his maiden half-century in a 132-run partnership, the Goat got the breakthrough when Babar edged one through to Tim Paine, and he departed for 104, with Pakistan still 118 runs short of making Australia bat again.

In easy to understand Australian terms, they were Stuffed with a capital F.

Rizwan and Shah kept the scoring going with a 79-run partnership, but Rizwan fell agonisingly short of a maiden Test ton, throwing away his wicket by mistiming Hazlewood straight to Lyon at deep backward point, departing for 95.

Pakistan’s chances of avoiding an innings defeat took another hammer blow when Shah fell for 42, and Afridi fell for 10 to become Hazlewood’s 4th wicket, with Pakistan still 9 runs short of making Warner and Burns have to trudge out to chase down 1 run.

Pakistan being Pakistan, they weren’t going to go quietly, and Naseem immediately tried to belt Hazlewood to cow corner first ball, and Imran clobbered Starc down the ground for a boundary, and then the next ball, brought the Test to an end by holing out to Wade at mid-on, and despite an imporved batting performance from Pakistan, the Aussies wrapped up a dominant victory by an innings, which oddly enough, was the first of 3 Tests in the last couple of days to be decided by the same method of victory.

India defeated Bangladesh by an innings in that Day/Night Test, and this afternoon, New Zealand finished off England by an innings in Tauranga.


For the first time in his career, Steve Smith was outscored by all of his teammates in a Test innings.

Yes, the Australian top order carried Steve Smith to victory.

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