The rain came but it didn’t seem that it did much to affect the Australian batsmen appetite for runs. The avalanche of runs kept on coming. And the fight seemed to go out of Pakistan’s sails. Once again there was no answer to the attack, the batsmen got themselves out. Bowlers looked tired, fielders looked tired, perhaps it has been a long tour. Perhaps it has been a long overseas tour in terms of both tours of NZ and AUS being badly planned. But the fatigue was there. This seemed to be a very different team to the team that went into England. That team looked much fitter, stronger and better prepared and with an answer to most issues. This team looked to be without answers and looked to be always responding late to the attack.
But coming to the match, Australia kept on the pressure as they were expected to. They continued to strike boundaries at will and running aggressively. It looked as if Pakistan was just trying to gift away the runs required so that the declaration would come. But wickets were taken, Wahab Riaz was once again exemplary, bowling with a lot of fire in the belly. The defensive fields set up didn’t seem to help much as boundaries still kept slowing but Australia still lost wickets more due to the batsman’s error, rather than bowler’s effort. Imran Khan bowled well but didn’t seem to have the required pace to worry batsmen but there was definite movement from him and he used the crease skillfully. Mohammad Amir once again remained wicketless and Yasir Shah was taken for a bundle of runs.
Renshaw and Handscomb both scored freely and got well deserved hundreds. Renshaw was unable to be able to convert into a double hundred. Handscomb seems to have a lot of flaws that havn’t been exploited but played a lot of eye pleasing shots in getting to his hundred. A special mention to Azhar Ali who bowled quite well and actually got a couple of wickets and had a couple of close chances dropped off him.
There is hope still for Pakistan, as there are no demons in the wicket itself, and after a couple of expected under pressure young batsmen getting out. Sharjeel chasing one without moving his feet, (how does it feel to field for a day and a half and then be back in the pavilion in 3 overs…gotta sting!) and Babar getting a peach of an inswinger from the ever reliable Hazelwood, the two main batsmen with experience and patience, settled in and didn’t look like they were going to be troubled much. They didn’t have the same scoring rate as Australia did, but it was reassuring nonetheless to see application after the bombardment of boundaries from Australia’s batsmen.
Azhar, once again, mixed solid defense with some very eye pleasing drives. Younis was typical Younis, busy at the crease and with a lot of gorgeous strokes in the arsenal that came to the fore. The pitch seemed dry but flat and with lots of runs for those batsmen that are willing to apply themselves to their task. Here’s hoping that Pakistan’s middle order gets the message and returns the dosage they received from Warner and Co. back with interest.