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Opinion

'It's an absolute highway': Takeaways from the first Test

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Roar Rookie
9th March, 2022
37

Going into the first Test, I was convinced that this Pakistan pitch was going to have its own tricks up its sleeve giving us a well-rounded bowling-orientated Test match, leaving a lot for both spin and pace

Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I saw the first published images of the prepared pitch I became pretty sceptical about how it would play out because it didn’t seem much like the minefield that I was expecting.

This pitch was a total road, only offering anything for the spinners which was already expected. Now due to this flat wicket two classy innings were formed with the bat from both sides but the first innings coming from Pakistan was particularly impressive despite the pitch conditions.

Great scores between Imam-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali generated most of the 476 runs Pakistan made. Only four wickets fell in the first innings, which is a solid indicator of how lifeless the pitch was. You are not going to get world-class cricketers out on a pitch that doesn’t do anything – it either takes a hell of a ball or a solid fielding effort to get the full ten wickets unless batters make silly mistakes.

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This point could define the Australian batting innings, however, they did bat very well, putting on 459 runs but were all bowled out at the end of their innings.

There were some convincing dismissals, such as Naseem Shah’s peach delivery to dismiss Alex Carey but wickets that included Usman Khawaja’s dismissal would be evidence of playing one too many risky shots.

We all know Usman does play the reverse sweep pretty effectively but it’s not the shot that’s going to be 100 per cent effective all the time and it cost him his hundred.

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Obviously I am still going to give credit to the Pakistan bowlers, especially Nauman Ali for taking six wickets. Spin bowling was the favoured option because of the pitch conditions but that does not negate the effort that was put in.

Debates could say that the flatness of the pitch affected the overall Test match and I can see where that argument stands but I like to see it as the nature of playing cricket in different parts of the world. Every place is going to be different.

In Australia, you get more bounce and pace; in England the ball won’t bounce as much but it will move off the pitch a lot more often; India has absolute minefields that are very entertaining to watch when you team is bowling, and in Pakistan, the batsmen get to have a field day.

From how I see it, that’s what makes cricket so fun to watch, because wherever a game is being played, it will never be the same as any others.

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The second Test is expected to be played on the 18th and once again I am keen to see how this match plays out.

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