Warner turns it on against listless Pakistan
There was enough evidence at Adelaide Oval to suggest, the present two-Test series between Australia and Pakistan is a total mismatch.
Australia 589/3 (126.6 Ov)
Pakistan 96/6 (34.6 Ov)
One of the key players for the home side for complete domination is David Warner in the pink ball day-night contest. Today he became the seventh Australian batsmen and the first ever at Adelaide to score a triple hundred in a Test match and what an innings he has played.
There was every chance of Warner beating the all-time highest individual Test innings of 400 not out by West Indies’ Brian Lara in 2004, if Australia were batting second. In time honoured tradition of Australian cricket, personal records and milestones are secondary to winning, all the more with now top Test nations competing for ICC Test Championship.
Warner brought up his triple hundred by pulling Mohammad Abbas to wide mid-on and the whole of Australia stood up for him as he also surpassed Don Bradman’s 299 not out, as the highest Test innings on this ground. In compiling a masterly unbeaten 335 (418 balls, 39 fours, 1 six) the left-handed opening batsman, overtook two legendary Australians: Bradman (334) and Mark Taylor (334 not out), in the three extra minutes given to him by captain Tim Paine, before declaring at 589-3. In scoring their runs at a rate of 4.63 runs. Australian batsmen left its bowlers to put the opposition under acute pressure.
Earlier resuming on 166 on the second ‘day’, Warner looked determined not to throw away his hard work. His 361-run stand for the 2nd wicket was finally broken when Shaheen Afridi went through the defences of Marnus Labuschagne, who hit a Test-best knock of 162. A young batsman with confidence, temperament and impressive range of strokes for the big stage, Labuschagne had faced 238 balls for his innings with 22 hits to the boundaries.
mpu-2]Warner added another 121 for the 3rd wicket with his new partner, Steve Smith, who will consider his dismissal for 36 as a huge failure on this flat batting wicket. Matthew Wade accompanied Warner to further deflate Pakistan and hit an unbeaten 35 off 40 balls in an unbroken 99-run stand for the 4the wicket. With declaration on their mind, the pair only took 15.5 overs to add these runs to pour more misery on the opposition. Apart from being caught at fourth slip off Mohammad Musa’s no-ball, Warner never looked likely to be dismissed.
Shaheen Afridi was the pick of the Pakistan bowler and the only one to be rewarded for his toil. His figures of 3-88 off 30 overs were more than respectable if compared with Abbas (0-100), Musa (0-114) and Yasir Shah (0-197). Perhaps the first incident of three bowlers going for 100 plus runs and wicket-less, in the same Test innings. Admittedly there was very little for the bowlers in the Adelaide wicket but to be hammered in this fashion was hard to take. This skill level of Pakistan pace and spin bowlers in Australian conditions is bound to come under scrutiny. The experienced Yasir Shah has been the biggest disappointment thus far as he has looked embarrassingly clueless against Australian batsmen.
Having piled up a mammoth first innings total, Australian bowlers now showed what can be achieved with the pink ball, by bending their backs and hitting the deck hard. It was difficult to believe the Pakistan were batting on the same wicket when the home pace attack sliced through the top order. The scoreboard pressure played a part in Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Shan Masood and Azhar Shafiq, all dismissed with tame pushes around their off-stump.
The art of leaving the ball was not practised very well by the Pakistan batsmen and at stumps on the second ‘day’, it had slipped to 96-6 with only Babar Azam (43 not out) showing enough composure to survive. All six wickets have been claimed through catches behind the wicket. Mitchell Starc with 4-22 and Paine with four wickets have featured prominently in Pakistan’s sorry looking scorecard. The tourists still trail by a massive 493 runs as the Adelaide Test heads for a four-day finish and Australia on its way to 2-0 series win.
Qasim Umar, a plucky middle order batsman who shot to fame with a number of battling knocks on the 1983-84 Pakistan tour to Australia, vented his frustration, ‘I am surprised to see the present Pakistan bowling line-up struggling to take a single wicket. How awful. I recall the 1983-84 Australian tour and despite not having Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis or Shoaib Akhtar to rely on and poor Sarfraz Nawaz, only bowling at just above medium-pace, we still managed to pick up 5-6 wickets, even on a bad day. The three pacemen, Taher Naqqash, Azeem Hafeez and Rashid Khan, were not express by any means, but still manage to hold on and helped Pakistan to compete. This present lot, I am sorry to say, looks awful. I simply don’t understand what is going on.’
©Cricket World 2019