Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day 3 Post

1) We've had 4 FULL sessions where we have only lost 1 wicket or less. There was an old theory that if you do this in a test series provided you have a decent bowling attack in your team, you are on track to do well in the series. 

Misbah and Shafiq in the 1st test 
Younis and Shafiq in the 1st innings here
Misbah and Azhar now

2) Misbah and Azhar were well justified with their circumspect approach:

A) Need to take the innings deep to allow Ajmal to bowl on a wearing track by the time SA are in to make him most effective
B) Need to give the bowlers rest after 100 overs in the field, particularly with bowlers like Tanvir and Irfan who have fitness concerns and with the amount of bowling Ajmal did, so need to bat long here too
C) They need to preserve wickets for tomorrow so they can make most of a soft and old ball with more naturally free flowing batters to follow against tired down bowlers (Shafiq and Tanvir)
D) With a lead of only 12 they didn't have much to work with to force the issue with the bat
E) They both have the temperament, mental toughness and principled attitude to absorb pressure when they are bogged down, playing maidens and kept quite and know to how to play the waiting game and come out of it

3) Repetitive stoic defensive occupation combined with six hitting calculated explosiveness. Misbah showing his versatility. He can bore the opposition in the field with obduracy before surprising them with a towering blow out of nowhere.

4) Unflappable dogged application from the two best grinding players in the side, some proper old school stonewalling, emulating Tavare/Boycott

5) If you consider consistency, progress, achievement, overcoming adversity, togetherness, leadership, discipline; this is the 2nd best test unit from Pakistan ever and they were always bound to deliver at some point on the tour

6) Indications of a win? Azhar Ali has never scored a 50 in a lost cause. 5 away from his 18th 50+ at test level

7) Six in a test match is always more spectacular than one in a T20 or ODI:

A) It is more rare

B) It takes more courage because a wicket is a bigger event

Misbah struck 3 beauties today which sailed over the fence against the left arm spinner. He's always been a clean powerful striker of the ball, especially against spin and he was prepared to go over the top just minutes before the close. Studious blocker and meaty six hitter, the best of both worlds

8) Younis and Shafiq with the bat in the 1st innings
Ali and Misbah in the 2nd innings
Tanvir priceless 44 to get us over 300 1st time round
Ajmal the catalyst with the balll
Gul creating chances and fielding well
Irfan making an impressive case with the ball on debut

This is turning out to be a 'great' team effort
This has been a feature of Misbah's leadership in Tests
We have a star player in Ajmal, yes, but by and large everyone has chipped in for the test wins at some stage or another. It hasn't been all individual brilliance. Collective efforts, measured approach, organised team structure has played a key part.

9) SA old ball attack are overrated
They have a decent defensive left arm spinner who can keep it tidy, but he's no game changer
If you have batsmen who are prepared to bide their time and battle for their runs like Pakistan have, it is possible to squeeze the venom out of this SA attack from time to time

10) 55% = Pak Win
35% = SA Win
10% = Draw

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