Australia 3/589d defeated Pakistan 302 & 239 (f/o) by an innings and 48 runs, win series 2-0
Player of the Match & Series: David Warner, duh – 335*, 2nd highest score by an Australian in Test cricket, 10th all-time
Australia decided against changing a winning team from The Gabba, while Pakistan made 3 changes – Paceman Mohammad Abbas was recalled on the basis of his mauling of the Aussies in the UAE last year, and joining him was opener Imam Ul-Haq, nephew of the fabled former skipper and fitness enthusiast Inzaman, and apparently the Pakistanis aren’t short of these teenage bowlers, with Musa Khan making his Test debut.
Due to the fact that Monsoon Marnus was about to make landfall in Adelaide after laying waste to Brisbane last weekend, the forecast for the Test was for a downpour of runs… and unseasonable rain.
How bloody typical – A rare case of the rains at this time of year, and it shows up in the bloody metro area.
After Tim Paine won the toss, the inclement weather delayed the start of play by 10 minutes, and then finished off the session after 22 overs, in which time Shaheen Shah Afridi removed Joe Burns for 4, who not only lost his wicket, but the rock paper scissors contest to Dave Warner.
The Aussies reached Tea at an easy 1/70, as Warner and that Lambshankguy looked set to put a pretty tame Pakistan bowling attack through more pain than Mankind in the 1998 Hell In A Cell fight against The Undertaker.
Play looked set to restart at 5pm local, but the rains came again, forcing the covers back on again, holding the restart off until 6:15pm, in which time Fox Cricket decided to remind the Pakistanis once again about the painful events of the 1999 Hobart Test… Even Justin Langer knew he’d whacked the cover off that ball.
WASIM AKRAM WAS SITTING IN THE COMMENTARY BOX, YOU MONSTERS.
When play resumed, Warner ended up bringing up his half-century after running 2, then picking up 4 overthrows thanks to Shaheen, moving him from 47 to 53.
It was one of many fielding errors from Shaheen on Friday, and he displayed the sort of grace seen in a baby giraffe trying to stand 10 minutes after coming out of the womb, and if he ever feels like playing in the Big Bash, he’ll feel much more reassured watching some of our club cricketing greats slugging it out.
Some errors included completely misreading a shot that ran away for 4, standing motionless like a Keystone Cop, pulling off a big slide into the rope to stop a boundary (Actually that wasn’t an error, that was fully sick), and another brilliant piece of fielding came when Warner cracked one through the off-side that should only have been 2, but Shaheen, in the process of bending down, kicked the ball over the rope for 4.
Still, the one advantage he had over his teammates was actually taking a wicket.
Despite the favourable bowling conditions, Warner continued to bend the Pakistani attack over a barrel, and made it consecutive Test centuries, equalling his coach/fellow left-handed opener in Alfie Langer on 23 centuries for Australia, and eventually, Marnus caught up quicker than I could type ‘what’, and would also bring up consecutive Test centuries, originally thinking he’d done it with a 6 that fell a foot short of the rope, before getting it done next ball.
Due to lost time, play was extended to 10:30, and by stumps, Warner finished unbeaten on 166, Labuschagne 126, and the Aussies 1/302, looking on track to set-up another massive win.
On what was Phil Hughes’ birthday, Warner and Labuschagne carried on the abusive treatment of the Pakistani attack, with Warner powering on to his second Test match double century, as Labuschagne brought up his second consecutive 150 score, before his innings came to an end when Shaheen rearranged his off-stump on 162, and he trudged off to a heroic reception.
It brought to an end the 361-run partnership, the best-ever in the short history of pink ball Test cricket, beating the old record of 248 held by SIR Alastair Cook and Joe ‘Dud’ Root against the West Indies in 2017.
Some leg spinner named Steve Smith came in next, needing 23 runs to become the fastest player to 7,000 Test runs (126 innings), and in the process, also pass Bradman’s career total of 6,996 Test runs, which he reached in only 80 innings.
Yep, just think, The Don could have had another unbreakable record with that memorable final innings at The Oval in 1948…. but Bradman being Bradman, he couldn’t recognise a googly when he saw one, and went for a second ball duck, giving the ABC a GPO Box number they’ve used ever since.
Anyway, Smith got there easily, beating the record previously held by one of Bradman’s contemporaries in Wally Hammond, who reached it in 131.
The Warner crusade carried on scoring, and in the same over that Labuschagne fell, he racked up his second Test double century!
My only conclusion to his Ashes performances… It wasn’t Dave Warner getting dry rooted by Stuart Broad in England – It was his exact double, Wave Darner.
The magic appeared to end on 226, when Warner skewed Musa on the off-side straight to Babar Azam for a simple catch, but for the second week running, it turned out he’d been dismissed on a no ball by a debutant, only this time, the umpire called it straight away.
Bloody hell Pakistan, why the hell do you do this to yourselves.
With yet another reprieve, Warner’s rampage continued, moving past his previous highest Test score of 253, and after boundary after boundary after boundary (Some 35 fours), he was seriously in sight of Bradman’s Adelaide Oval record score of 299*, and potentially, the first ever Test triple-century in the City of Churches, after 135 years of trying.
In between this, Smith exited via stage right for 36 after being caught behind, having played the backseat passenger role for a 121-run stand, which gave Shaheen all 3 wickets, and on came Matty Wade to pile on a couple more quick runs, just as he did at The Gabba.
Anyway, you know what bloody well happened to Warner, who triumphantly passed 300 with a leg side pull to the rope, bringing up the first Test triple century by anyone in 3 years, the 7th by an Australian, and the first since Michael Clarke at the SCG in 2012, who bloody well declared himself on a mere unbeaten 329.
As Warner reached the magical 334, I assume there was a half a thought in following in Mark Taylor’s footsteps, and declaring on 334 so he could have his name alongside The Don’s highest score, but to my delight, Tim Paine took the Matty Hayden option and kept going, and Warner took an easy single to move to 335, leaving the biggest run-greedy tightarse to turn in his grave….
After which Paine immediately declared with the team in mind.
Now if you ask me, that is just Alpha brilliance from Timmy The Toolman – Not only did he crap on Warner, but he crapped on people’s hopes of seeing Warner going after Hayden’s 380 and Lara’s 400 (To Brian’s disappointment, given he was in Adelaide), but most amazingly of all, he crapped on Bradman.
Still, the most remarkable part about watching Warner’s innings was that even when he’d passed 300, you could still see him going full pelt between the wickets just to get a single – He supposedly racked up the equivalent of a half-marathon during his time at the crease.
He ran a half-marathon, and we were at half-mast watching him play.
Declaring 30 minutes before dinner was a decision that Mitchell Starc vindicated inside 5 overs, drawing a wild edge from Imam, which flew straight to the gully, and into the waiting hands of none other than Davey boy.
It was the story of the evening, as Starc picked apart the Pakistani top order with 4 wickets, and the visitors made it to stumps in a massive hole at 6/96, with Babar surviving the carnage on 43, joined by Yasir.
It was a tough fight to see what was the bleaker forecast- The Adelaide weather, the future of the human race, or Pakistan’s chances of sneaking a draw.
With a boring afternoon session ahead, Kerry O’Keefe tried spicing up the Fox Cricket coverage as only Skull can, by commenting on the fact that mathematician Terence Tao, with an IQ of 210 or 220, went to Blackwood High School in Adelaide, and that subsequently, every South Australian has a lower IQ than Terence Tao.
Mark Waugh then asked Skull for his IQ, to which Skull responded, “I think it’s in double figures.”
On the basis of Junior’s record as a national selector, I’d say Skull has him covered there.
In what was Pakistan’s best session of the match, Babar and Yasir powered on to a 105 run partnership, led by Babar’s sweet timing, as Australia spent most of the afternoon watching Labuschagne drop routine catches (Yasir could woulda shoulda been out for 43), and Smith was once again standing too far back in the slips, which led to him grassing a catch.
After this latest below-par performance, I’d very much like to see the incriminating photos of Greg Chappell this Smith character has, to still be getting a game.
As Babar raced on to 97, his teammates snuck up the race, in anticipation of celebrating a well-earned century in trying circumstances.
And then he was baited into driving Starc through the off-side, and was caught behind by Paine, falling agonisingly short of back-to-back tons, as Starc brought up his 5fer, and then moved on to a hat-trick by trapping Shaheen dead in front.
Despite losing his lone remaining specialist batsman, Yasir got a fair old wag in the tail in support, and after not even having a First Class half-century next to his name, the spinner ticked off that milestone after 55 test innings, receiving moral support from Mohammad Abbas, who had never scored more than 11 in a Test, and ended up making 29.
Despite the threat of the follow-on staring him and his team in the face, Yasir just kept picking the gaps ticked into the Nervous 90s, and the shock and wonder of every Antipodean drawing breath, he made it to 99, lofted a shot over Cummins at mid-on, and CRACKED THE TON!
Despite the fact it was a damn fine knock, that innings probably summed up why Pakistan were in the hole the size of Adelaide to begin with – Yasir ended up doing more damage with the bat than he did with the ball.
He eventually holed out to Lyon for 113 with the shot of a tail-ender, and Pakistan, after looking like they’d struggle to reach 150, were bowled out for 302, still 287 behind.
In further proof that he is the Antichrist, Starc finished with figures of 6/66, despite rolling his ankle.
Say, I feel some Iron Maiden coming on….
With the swing of the evening session ahead, but more likely due to the threat of rain, Paine did what few Australian captains do these days – He enforced the follow-on.
I say few, because the events of Kolkata in 2001 pretty much turned it into a cultural taboo in this part of the world.
Within 10 overs, the tourists had returned to the familiar feeling of impending destruction – Imam was gone for a duck thanks to an LBW call that stayed on Review, Azhar Ali repeated his 1st innings performance and fell for 9, and Babar couldn’t repeat his performance from a few hours earlier, being caught behind for 8 by Paine, leaving Pakistan 3/20.
As if things weren’t tough enough, as soon as Babar fell, the persistent light rain hilariously started hammering down, bringing play to a halt, and after several stop-start delays, the umpires called stumps with Pakistan at 3/39, almost certain to lose by an innings.
Shan Masood and Asad Shafiq started off the fourth afternoon by scoring freely, giving Pakistan their second 100-run partnership of the match, as Shan made his best score of the series.
But they were in grave danger, because after a wicketless first innings, Gary the GOAT was done grazing on the grass he used to curate for a living.
Just before Tea, Shan charged down the pitch and holed out to Starc at mid-off for 68, Asad picked up the slack made his half-century in the middle session, before Lyon drew the edge on 57, with the placement of Warner at leg slip paying dividends, and Pakistan were now 5/154.
Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Rizwan at least got Pakistan past 200, until Lyon coerced Iftikhar into an edge to bat-pad where Marnus Labuschagne was set-up, and the Loose Bus Change scraped the rebound into his claws, leaving Pakistan 86 behind with 4 wickets left.
Yasir came in, but after moving to 13, there was no encore performance from yesterday, being trapped LBW to become Lyon’s 4th victim in a line, and a subsequent DRS review cmae up with 3 red lights to confirm he was on his way.
Lyon’s 5th victim was Shaheen, who at least scored this time, but as only tail-enders can, just minutes before the dinner break, he tried slogging Lyon into the SACA Members, and ended up down the throat of Hazlewood for 1, and Pakistan 8/229.
After Rizwan was clean bowled by Hazlewood for 45, ‘Double-Decker’ Abbas decided to end the Test and give everyone an early night on the town, by running halfway up the pitch from the non-strikers end thinking a single was available, stranding himself to such a degree that non-cricketing heathens would’ve thought he was impersonating Tom Hanks in Castaway, leaving him a sitting target for a Pat Cummins direct hit from mid-on, which the Cumdog Millionaire absolutely nailed.
So Australia take an easy series win, Warner was the absolutely simple choice for Player of the Match and series, having scored 489 runs at an average of 489, and the Antipodeans keep up their perfect record in pink ball tests- 6 matches, 6 wins.
In the worst losing streak for any visiting team in Test cricket, Pakistan have now lost 14 consecutive Test matches in Australia, with their last win coming in the 1996 New Years’ Test in Sydney.
So David Warner was on the field for every ball of the Test, Mitchell Starc took more wickets for the series (14) than the entire Pakistan team (13), Pat Cummins only took 7 wickets for the series, Steve Smith scored a total of 40 runs, and Travis Head quite literally had nothing to do for 4 days except scratch his arse in the outfield.
Just showing how rare that is, Head is the first Australian player since Craig McDermott in a ’93 Ashes Test to play in a match without batting, bowling or taking a catch.
But yes, this series could be summed up in two words.
Thankyou for reading.