Friday, August 31, 2012
The first ODI was a wash-out game between England and South Africa and the action moved on to Southampton for the second ODI. South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first on a dry wicket, which offered more for the spinners than the seamers. Owing to Hashim Amla’s almost flawless innings of 150, South Africa posted a good first innings total of 287 and set England a tough target to scale down.
England started off on a poor note and lost their main man, Alastair Cook in the first over itself. Ian Bell led the fightback but the Brits kept losing wickets in quick intervals and that put an end to the show. Samit Patel and Steven Finn tried to revive what was left in the match for the last wicket but the target was just too far ahead to be scaled down. The Man of the Match and the Overall Castrol Performer was obviously Hashim Amla for his splendid knock of 150.
Andrew Strauss, England’s Test captain retired mid-way in this series and Alastair Cook has been handed over the responsibility of captaining the Test side as well. That might put some added pressure on Cook as England are already 0-1 down in the series, and South Africa are stepping up their plate by every day and night. Graeme Swann has been rested for the rest of the ODIs and James Tredwell takes his place. Tredwell last played against Australia and his conventional offies proved tough for the away side to deal with. He is not a tricky customer and delivers bowls orthodox.
South Africa left out Dale Steyn for the initial stages of the match and his inclusion seems more improbable in this one as well. Graeme Smith did well in the second ODI and most of the middle-order batsmen just about managed decent starts. Ryan McLaren came back to the ODI circuit while Wayne Parnell is a handy-all rounder and a good death bowler to have in the team.
Expect England to make a couple of changes with Ravi Bopara coming under the scrutiny. Jonathan Bairstow, in spite of consistent performances may get the nod ahead of him while Chris Woakes may get his chance back in the team as a front line bowler ahead of Samit Patel. With the series still open, expect England to come back in blazing form.
A close victory over Pakistan at Sharjah would have infused a lot of self confidence in Australia and they will be gung-ho heading into the second ODI at Abu Dhabi.
It was a win by a narrow margin for the Aussies as they go 1-0 up in the 3-match ODI series. Their strategy of going in with an all seam attack reaped dividends as they managed to dominate the opposition. The seam bowlers were extremely impressive and they maintained the pressure from the beginning. The pair of Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson was lethal as they generated good pace and bounce on a flat deck at Sharjah. However, they lacked a class spinner in their ranks, the presence of Michael Clarke, David Hussey and Glenn Maxwell tried to fill that gap. The back up seam bowling did pretty well too as they managed to restrict Pakistan to a paltry total.
The real test for Australia was with their batting on a slow wicket against the quality spinners of Pakistan. As expected, it was a struggle for them and a low target was made to look like a humongous one by the spin trio of Ajmal-Afridi-Hafeez. A responsible knock by the Aussie skipper, Michael Clarke, and his partnership with George Bailey saved the day for them. Both showed lots of character while dealing with the spinning deliveries and gutted it out against all odds. Bailey, in particular, batted with responsibility and remained unbeaten to steer his side beyond the finish line. A whirlwind knock by Glenn Maxwell turned out to be decisive in the end.
Australia, however, registered a fine win in their last game, they still have to work on their batting. Not including a spinner on a slow wicket is a gamble and they could include Xavier Doherty or Steven Smith in the playing XI.
The word often coined for Pakistan is “unpredictable” and the first ODI proved why that word is normally associated with them. They started watchfully in that game and lost a few quick wickets as well but then Asad Shafiq steadied the innings with Misbah-ul-Haq. As the innings looked to be coming back on track, the Pakistani skipper lost his wicket. But then we witnessed an enthralling stand between Umar Akmal and Asad Shafiq. Pakistan recovered well in the middle overs and were set for a competitive total but the start of the Batting Powerplay turned the tide against them. They themselves pressed the collapse button and the lower-middle order just capitulated as they lost its last six wickets for only 38 runs. A problem which we have seen for the umpteenth time with this Asian side and the Pakistani skipper admitted the same concern in his post match interview as well.
Credit should be given to the Pakistani spin bowlers for making the last ODI a close match. They had the opposition on the mat with first four wickets down for only 67 and the likes of Hafeez and Ajmal dominating the proceedings. The Australians were completely at sea against the spinners but somehow managed to scrape through with a win. Saeed Ajmal once again will be the trump card for Pakistan and the Kangaroos have to device some strategy to deal with him.
Altogether, bowling from both sides was impressive and they both have to brush up their batting. The conditions will be once again sultry and it will also play a part. It promises to be an exciting match and Pakistan have to win it to keep the series alive.
Page 1 of 398 pages 1 2 3 > Last »