December 2009
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Benj Moorehead: Passing The Test

December 14th, 2009 by Benj Moorehead in International, New Zealand, Pakistan, Test cricket, The media, west indies


Sometimes we focus so much on what is wrong with Test cricket that it is easy to forget the joy it continues to provide, never more so than in this particularly frenzied period of Tests.

The recent series between India and Sri Lanka may have been too batsman-friendly but it provided some extraordinary passages of play. Who could not have wished to see Virender Sehwag’s assault in the third Test, elegant and brutal in equal measure? For Sri Lanka, Tillakaratne Dilshan’s innings were also moments when you had to bin ideas of work and focus on some ball-by-ball Test cricket. There were personal narratives too – Sreesanth, suddenly the grounded, almost geeky bowler of immaculate line and length, Murali suddenly lacking in fizz and accuracy. And Angelo Mathews – doing an Atherton when on 99 and in sight of his first Test hundred.

The Ahmedabad pitch immediately came under fire in the first Test of that series and rightly so: it failed to offer the bowlers enough on day five. But up until that point it was a good, subcontinental Test match. India will not provide the seamer-friendly conditions found elsewhere but that is the appeal of Test cricket around the world – players must adapt to different conditions and this brings a rich variety to the cricket.

Over in Australia, the prospect of a series against West Indies underwhelmed the local media, but there were things to admire about the visitors even in that first Test drubbing: Kemar Roach bowling at 150kmh, and pitching the ball up admirably (as he has done all series); Adrian Barath, a 19-year-old debutant, making an attacking hundred in the second-innings and scoring half of his side’s runs.

In the second Test the West Indies would hold the upperhand throughout. Chris Gayle, who apparently has no time for defensive shots or for Test cricket, played with fascinating constraint to set up possible victory and Dwayne Bravo, outstanding in both disciplines throughout the Test, nearly conjured a win on the final day.

The New Zealand-Pakistan series is the ace in the pack. Two sides entirely uncertain of themselves and bowler-friendly conditions have produced tumbling wickets and excellent contests. By all accounts Dunedin saw one of the most gripping Tests in recent times. The emergence of another 19-year-old, Umar Akmal, is very exciting (scores of 46, 52, 129, 75 in his first four Test innings). He is currently 48 not out with Pakistan going into the last day of the deciding Test 99 runs ahead with six wickets in hand.

These are mere extracts from a riveting period of Test cricket. And the first match of a series between two evenly-matched sides, South Africa and England, begins on Wednesday, as does the third Test of Australia-West Indies. Will I ever get any sleep?

Benj Moorehead is editorial assistant of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in International, New Zealand, Pakistan, Test cricket, The media, west indies | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Benj Moorehead: Passing The Test”

  1.   A.R.Zaidi says:

    West Indies fought bravely against the Aussies particularly in the second test of the series which has given a chance to Pakistani cricket lovers to weigh Pakistan’s chances in the coming test series starting from Boxing Day test match. No doubt they did not perform very well in the recently concluded series against the Kiwis but then Aussies have also not been in commanding position over the cricketers from Caribbean islands. Pakistan should be looking towards Imran Farhat and Salman Butt who seem to be in good form as openers. Mohammad Yousaf is in good nick alongwith mercurial little Omar Akmal. This series will be very crucial for Omar because he scored heavily for Pakistan A team which toured Aussie land last year. His elder brother Kamran is back in form too. My only worry is Misbah ulHaq and Shoeb Malik who have faultered in the middle with bat. I m of this view that team should give a chance to some new rising youngsters instead of wasting time on these two batsmen. Pakistan’s bowling attack should be stronger now with the return of Sami who will be having Aamir and Asif as his very talented new ball partners. Omar Gul is also not lagging behind in form. Aussies thus can lose this series if Pakistani fielders don’t miss catches. They have potential to write history in Australia this time because Ponting is still not sure to play at Gabba due to elbow injury and their batsmen and bowlers r not in super form. Gayle’s team showed they r very beatable so let’s see if Mohammad Yousaf and co can turn the tables on arrogant Aussies.

  2.   A.R.Zaidi says:

    sorry, i forgot to mention Danish Kaneria the leggie and Saeed Ajmal, the right arm off spinner who r in tremendous form these days. Such a variety in Pakistani bowling give them an edge over the Australians. Both would love to bowl on Australian bouncy wickets where they can turn the ball too.

  3.   A.R.Zaidi says:

    First day of the test has seen Aussies scoring 305 for 3 and Misbah is one of the criminal fielders to drop a vital, crucial catch. Did i not mention about catches in my blog above? i think i did. So Aussies were allowed to score these runs due to a missed run out and few dropped catches. You can only blame yourself Pakistan for this huge total in the first innings. And can anyone explain why Omar Gul was dropped along with Danish Kaneria. Tossing the ball to Imran Farhat was a tacit acknowledgment of the bad decision to exclude Danish. Is it good captaincy Mr. Mohammad Yousaf! And u r including in the side Faisal Iqbal who is venerable to fast swinging deliveries. I beg to differ with Yousaf’s captaincy and decisions.

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