October 28, 2014
Pakistan took a 1-0 series lead with a comprehensive 221 run victory over Australia in the first of three match series in the UAE.
All the hype before the match was about how Darren Lehmann had turned this Australian team around, but in the heat of Dubai they were out classed by a team who were playing as if it were their backyard.
Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and elected to bat on what appeared to be good batting conditions. However, they were soon in trouble as his side lost both their openers in quick succession, as Australia’s new ball bowlers looked a threat with the score on 10-2. Despite a cautious start, Azhur Ali & Younis Khan began to repair the damage for Pakistan. Ali (54) soon reaches his half century before receiving a sharp rising ball from Mitchell Johnson which looked as though it had unsettled the short right-hander. Shortly after this, Ali was dismissed for 54, giving a soft catch to Doolan.
Younis continued to play some attacking cricket after lunch and brought up a brilliant century with a huge six off Nathan Lyon. The Pakistan middle order continued the good work with valuable contributions from Misbah-ul-Haq (65), Shafiq (89) and a further century from Sarfraz Ahmed (109). In the end Pakistan were dismissed for 454 which from 10-2 was a more than satisfactory recovery.
Mitchell Johnson (3-39) was the pick of the Australian bowlers as he continued his recent run of good form, despite the slow nature of the pitch.
Australia’s reply started strongly in the form of David Warner. The stocky left hander punished anything loose on offer as he bludgeoned his way to an outstanding century, finishing on 133. Despite the efforts of Warner, the remainder of the Australian batsman struggled to contribute. In the end Australia were dismissed for 303 leaving a large first innings deficit. Yasir Shah picked up 3-66 off his 16 overs in what was a tidy effort from the home teams bowlers throughout.
As the match headed into day 4, Pakistan knew they required quick runs in order to push for victory. Yet again they were thankful to Younis Khan who recorded his second century of the match, becoming only the seventh Pakistani to achieve this feet in Test cricket. In the process Younis brought up his 26th Test century which is now a record for Pakistan overtaking Inzamam-Ul-Haq the previous record holder on 25.
Younis was well supported at the crease by Shehzad (131), who made sure the run rate was such that Pakistan would have enough time to take 10 wickets in the game. Pakistan eventually declared their second innings on 286-2, leaving Australia a stiff ask requiring a record breaking total of 438 to win the match on what was now a very dry surface in the desert.
Australia knew that if they were to get anywhere near this score they would of need a good start. David Warner was a big part of this being the man in form and his ability to score quickly. At 44-0 Warner (29) came down the wicket and missed a ball from Zulfiqar Babar and was smartly stumped by Sarfraz Ahmed. This was to prove the start of a dramatic Australian collapse. The tourists proceeded to lose four wickets for five runs at the end of a dramatic day 4, and it’s fair to say the writing was on the wall for Darren Lehmanns side.
There was some resistance in the form of Rogers (43), Smith (55) and Johnson (61) on day 5, but the match finished with plenty of time to spare as Pakistan claimed all 10 wickets required for victory. Yet again Yasir Shah (4-50) was impressive and Australia will know that unless they play the turning ball much better for the remainder of this tour then there is likely to be only one outcome. Siddle was the last man to go, which brought about jubilant celebrations from Pakistan and their supporters.
This match will always be remembered as the game Younis Khan scored a century in each innings, and it’s important to remember that this was after the experienced batsman had been dropped from the ODI side.
As always, the best comeback is too let your bat do the talking, Well played sir!