The Roar
The Roar


'This isn't working' - Pakistan tail wags as Aussie tactics questioned, Albo, Warner's dad whack 'scumbag' baggy green thief

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3rd January, 2024
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A Pat Cummins five-wicket haul had Pakistan on the brink of being bowled out midway through the final session of Day 1, with the tourists left with a below par 9/227 when last man in Mir Hamza strolled out.

But thanks to some audacious hitting from tailender Aamer Jamal, and some clever rotation of the strike, the last pair defied a short-ball onslaught from the Australian pace attack in a substantial rearguard effort.

The last-wicket partnership blossomed to 34 by the final drinks break of the day, with Hamza needing to face just nine balls in the pair’s first eight overs together.

With Australia continuing to bowl short at Jamal, and setting some extraordinary fields to boot – at one stage they had three in the deep on the leg side and no fielders in front of square on the off – Fox Cricket‘s Kerry O’Keeffe questioned the tactics, particularly after Josh Hazlewood was hit for a four and a six within three balls.

“You’ve got one of the most metronomic bowlers in the world, and you’re asking him to bowl short to these tailenders with a deep-set field,” O’Keeffe said.

“Josh Hazlewood’s skill set is so strong that if he just bowled the length he normally bowls with close catchers, things are going to happen. It’s out of character for him to have to bowl a bouncer barrage here.”

“Surely they’ve got to rethink this now – this is not working,” fellow commentator Ian Smith added after Jamal hooked Hazlewood for six, to see Pakistan past the 250 mark.


The pair’s stand swelled to 86 – the second-highest for Pakistan in a Test against Australia – while Jamal whacked his way to 82.

But just as a remarkable century looked within reach, the number nine would perish trying one big shot too many off Nathan Lyon, caught by Mitchell Starc on the long on boundary.

Still, he had seen Pakistan post a competitive 313, rescuing the innings from what seemed certain to be a below-par total.

“You’ve always got to back in what you’re doing, certainly when you’re bowling to a tail-ender,” all-rounder Mitchell Marsh said in defending the short-ball tactics. 

“He could easily hit one of those straight up and we weren’t necessarily waiting for that to happen but I honestly think he batted unbelievably well. 

“We saw a potential weakness to the short ball last game, the ball got old, slower wicket and he played exceptionally well. It was hard work.”

Warner’s father lashes ‘scumbag’ baggy green thief


David Warner’s father has labelled the thief who snatched his son’s baggy green ahead of his final Test as a ‘scumbag’, as the retiring opener was forced to take to the field on Day 1 at the SCG with a replacement cap.

Warner took to Instagram on Tuesday to issue a plea for the cap’s return, offering the thief a backpack in exchange.

“That’s sentimental to me, it’s something I would love to have back in my hands, walking out there come this week,” he said.

“If it’s the backpack you really wanted, I have a spare one here. You won’t get into any trouble – I’m happy to give this to you if you return my baggy greens.”

However, the cap has yet to be returned, with Warner’s father Howard saying his son was ’emotional’ about its absence for his farewell Test.

“Whatever scumbag has taken it is going to have to lay it off very shortly. They’ll find it dumped somewhere,” he said on SEN.

“I know he’s emotional. He would love to walk out with the baggy green on.”


(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese added to the chorus.

“Dave Warner has represented Australia on more than 100 occasions. The baggy green caps belong to him. He has (earned) them and they should be returned,” Albanese said.

‘Managing my workload’: Pakistan quick defends controversial resting

Pakistan have made the call to rest ace paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi and drop opening batter Imam-ul-Haq for the third Test against Australia at the SCG.

Captain Shan Masood confirmed the changes at the toss, with Pakistan winning and electing to bat first.

“Hopefully we can put in a good first innings score and then see how it plays,” Masood said.


With the series lost and little to play for other than World Test Championship points, the tourists opted to leave out their inspirational leader of the attack in Afridi.

That allows them to bring in spinner Sajid Khan in his place on a wicket they expect to turn.

First-choice off-breaker Abrar Ahmed is still unavailable while nursing a leg injury, prompting Sajid’s selection.

Pakistan will otherwise retain pace trio Hasan Ali, Aamir Jamal and Mir Hamza from their loss at the MCG last week.

“It looks pretty dry from underneath the grass, so we might expect after Day 3 the pitch to be variable in terms of bounce. Might take a bit of spin – that’s why we included Sajid Khan as well,” Masood said.

“Unfortunately, Shaheen’s resting, but I think Sajid along with the three fast bowlers will be a decent attack on this surface.”

Australia will field an unchanged XI for the third consecutive Test.


Masood had said on Tuesday the tourists were keen to play two spinners in Sydney.

“We think that it might turn in Sydney. So we want to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to have the best players on the field,” he said.

The decision has been quickly criticised, with well-known commentator and former player Bazid Khan questioning the logic of resting Shaheen from Test cricket and prioritising T20s.

“PCB were so disappointed when Haris Rauf refused to play Tests because he wanted to play [sic] T20s instead. Now PCB themselves rest their premier fast bowler so that he can play T20Is (shrugging emoji),” Bazid wrote.

Legendary paceman Waqar Younis was even harsher.


“That makes me laugh, to be honest. That’s what we play for – we play for Test match cricket. We don’t play for T20s or one-day cricket,” Waqar said on Channel 7.

“If you’re missing Test match cricket just purely because you are being rested, I do not understand. That’s a real shocker for me.

“I was expecting him [Shaheen] to be part of this Test match, because he looked good in the previous match. He started feeling [like] the old Shaheen Afridi and started swinging the ball, the pace was getting better.

“Now we’re not going to see him. That’s a real shocker for me.”

However, speaking to Channel 7, Afridi was comfortable with the decision.

“I’ve played two games [this series], and a lot of overs to be honest,” he said.

“They’re just managing my workload, the medical team and team management decided to take a rest for this [Test].”


Pakistan relied on spinning allrounder Agha Salman for the first two Tests, with Abrar out and Sajid not picked.

He took only one wicket from 51 overs and went for 160 runs in the losses in Perth and Melbourne, but will have the assistance of Sajid at the SCG from Wednesday.

The call to axe Imam comes after the opener made scores of 62, 10, 10 and 12 on the tour so far. In his place 21-year-old Saim Ayub made his debut. 

A tactical change is also guaranteed after Pakistan warmed up without Abdullah Shafique in the slips on Tuesday and with Babar Azam introduced at first slip.

Shafique will play but has been banished from the cordon after his three drops in the opening two Tests.


Masood defended the delay in changing the cordon, with Shafique not ousted until the morning of day four in Melbourne.

“In a game your hands are tied because slips are very specialised,” Masood said. 

“A lot of fielding places in Test cricket are very specialised. We had four genuine quick bowlers, so it was hard to get them into the slips. 

“And then Abdullah Shafique has been a good slipsman for us and those are the guys that practise for hours every day.” 

“He’s a brilliant slips fielder. He’s got age on his side. You’ll see him standing in the slips more often. 

“But I think if he doesn’t feel comfortable, Babar is a decent first slipper.”

with AAP