Ricky Ponting roared back to form with a superlative double hundred and Michael Clarke registered his highest Test score of 166 as Australia looked set to hand another whitewash to the helpless, self-destructive Pakistanis, two days into the third and final Test at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart.
Replying to Australia’s mammoth first-innings score of 519 for 8 declared, Pakistan kicked themselves in the foot to have themselves struggling at 94 for 4 at the end of the day’s play. Things looked slightly positive when Imran Farhat and Salman Butt added 63 for the opening wicket. But everyone, including the Pakistanis themselves, knew that this was just the calm before the storm.
The destruction mode was set into action when Farhat, on 38, chased a wide delivery from Peter Siddle, who has been Australia’s least effective bowler in the series.
The result was a simple catch, accepted gleefully behind the wickets. In the same over, Khurram Manzoor, the new number three for Pakistan was also sent back by the Aussie pacer. Manzoor, went for a cut shot way too early in his innings and only managed to slice one into the slips.
With two wickets down, Pakistan were already in the doldrums. But the sorry part was that the worst hadn’t yet arrived. The last two dismissals of the day must have undoubtedly given Butt a horribly sleepless night.
Skipper Mohammad Yousuf wanted an extra run and was rather adamant about it. However, Butt had other ideas and simply refused to complete the run. The end result – Yousuf was stranded short of his crease for just 7.
Not surprisingly, he left only after a long stare at Butt which literally translated into – how dare you do that to me? But , Butt wasn’t done! He meted out similar treatment to Pakistan’s best batsman in the series, Umar Akmal.
The talented youngster wanted a single. However, while Butt responded initially, he back-tracked at the last minute and Akmal had nowhere to go but head back to the pavilion.
If Pakistan want to make a come back into the game now, Butt will have to play a miraculous knock with plenty of help from the others. But for that, he will first need to get over the horrendous mix-ups.
Before the Australian bowlers, it was the Ponting-Clarke duo that made it Australia’s day. The duo, which had come together after the Aussies had lost three early wickets, ended up adding 352 runs for the fourth wicket.
This was Australia’s sixth-highest partnership for any wicket in Tests. Runs came thick and fast. The Pakistani fielders once again aided the Aussie batsmen. Ricky Ponting, who was dropped by Mohammad Aamer on naught on the opening day, got another reprieve on 167, when Farhat dropped a chance at cover. The miss only epitomized Pakistan’s woes.
The grand Clarke-Ponting stand finally ended when Danish Kaneria cleaned up Clarke from around the wickets, the batsman padding up. Ponting left after scoring 209, caught by Yousuf in the cover off Aamer while trying to up the ante.
Brad Haddin and Marcus North notched up cameos before Australia declared and the bowlers took over. Ponting knew he had enough to trouble Pakistan. And he was proved exactly right.
No comments yet.