At the beginning of the fourth day of the Sydney Test, everyone was aware that only a miracle could help Australia win from the precarious position they found themselves in. The only positive they had in front of them was the fact that they had Pakistan as the opposition. If there is one team in the world that had the ability to pull off such a stunning defeat from an impregnable position, it was Pakistan. And they did exactly that. After dominating the match for three days, it all fell apart for the Asian side as Australia recovered to post an astounding victory.
It all began with a superlative 123-run partnership between overnight batsman Michael Hussey and Peter Siddle for the ninth wicket. In the process, Hussey went on to complete his 11th Test century and unarguably one of his most precious ones. The Hussey-Siddle association ensured Pakistan were set a decent total of 176 to chase. But, what the partnership also did was give confidence to the Aussie bowlers to go all out and attack, with nothing to lose. And they did not falter as Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Hauritz combined to rout Pakistan and hand them an embarrassing defeat, one that will rankle them for a long time.
Hauritz, who picked up his second five-for in consecutive games, firmly set Australia on course for victory sending back opposition skipper Mohammad Yousuf caught and bowled. Yousuf hit one hard down the ground, but Hauritz managed to get his hands under it in time.
And although, he hurt his fingers in the process, the pain disappeared soon. It helped that he kept picking up wickets to decimate Pakistan. Misbah-ul-qHa lasted all of two balls against him. The tail had little to offer as Hauritz cleaned them up one after the other in a hurry.
The impressive spinner got excellent support from Mitchell Johnson, who began the demolition job for Australia.
The left-arm seamer sent back Salman Butt and Faisal Iqbal in the very same over cheaply and boosted Australia’s confidence immensely. Further, Doug Bollinger also played his part and chipped in with two wickets at crucial junctures. He was responsible for getting rid of Imran Farhat at the top. But, it was undoubtedly the wicket of the belligerent Umar Akmal (49), who threatened to take the game away from Aussies, that allowed the home side to breathe freely.
The bowlers pulled off a miracle no doubt. However, none of that could have been possible without the efforts of Hussey earlier in the day. One has to say he was assisted in a big way by Yousuf, whose captaincy will definitely come under the scanner. Yousuf allowed Hussey to bat with complete freedom, not inserting any pressure on him. Hussey was more than happy to refuse the singles on offer and instead preferred to find the gaps in field, which he did with great precision. Hussey and Siddle kept on piling the agony and Pakistan in were in for a tough battle, which they clearly weren’t prepared for.
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