Pakistan inch closer to squaring the series
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 23rd July 2010
Pakistan after a gap of 15 years are on the cusp of defeating Australia in a Test match. The Australians require seven magical deliveries to take out the seven wickets while the Pakistani side requires just 40 runs to achieve what they have failed to do in the past 13 Tests.
Australia resumed the day at 136 for 2 with the sole aim of first wiping out the deficit and then getting a sizeable lead. Overnight batsman Ponting was looking set for a huge score but he added just five runs before he could not hold himself back at poking a booming outswinger from Aamer. Hussey was done in by a vicious off-cutter from Aamer as the ball griped, got extra bounce and the ball slammed onto the gloves of the southpaw and flew to Umar Akmal at second slip. North continued to have a lean series as he inside edged an off-cutter from Aamer onto his leg stump and soon Australians were looking down the barrel.
Michael Clarke found a good support from Tim Paine and the duo steadied the rocking ship. The pair took the Australian side to lunch without major damage and then continued the good work with some sensible cricket. The pair added 53 runs and just when Clarke looked set for a well-deserved century Mohammad Asif produced a delivery that would have made Glenn McGrath proud. The lanky paceman pitched one on a good length and got the ball to seam just a wee bit to kiss the outside edge and the keeper did the rest without much fuss. Tim Paine was patient but his dismissal was due to one of the most atrocious shot in the Test match so far. Kaneria delivered a delivery that was slow, short and wide which Paine somehow succeeded to slap it straight to Azhar Ali at covers.
It was just then Steven Smith took control of the innings with stunning maturity. First along with Johnson steadied the ship and when the southpaw was dismissed the youngster opened up. The shots that he displayed left the Pakistani bowlers stunned as they began to crack. Smith played some rasping cuts, thumping pulls and strong drives on either side of the wicket as the lead swelled past the 150 run mark. The youngster got to his maiden Test fifty in his just second Test match before a slower delivery from Gul castled him.
The Pakistani openers in reply looked visibly nervous as they had before them a rare chance of winning a Test against Australia after 15 years. The pair looked to score of each and every available opportunity and that resulted in some play and misses and runs through gully region. Farhat was dropped on 4 by Watson off Bollinger and that proved costly. The southpaw flourished in perfect batting conditions as he scored at a scorching pace. Skipper Butt meanwhile was caught at second slip and it seemed that there might be twist in the tail.
But a solid partnership between Farhat and Azhar Ali developed as they took the Pakistani side closer to a rare win. Farhat got to his half-century of a powerful cut of a disappointing Johnson and it seemed that the pair might close out the chase in the third day's evening itself. But a double strike from Bollinger which included Farhat and Umar Amin for a duck disrupted Pakistan's plan. They did have an option for opting for the extra half an hour but the batting side preferred to finish the chase the next day.