Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Australia played a very gritty match
against Afghanistan and just about had enough firepower to scrape
through for a victory. The Asian side did well to restrict the
Aussies to a 270-odd total. David Warner was once again struggling to
play with the new ball and he got out cheaply. Already stated
earlier, Michael Clarke promoted himself to the number 3 position and
did well with a handy knock in extremely hot and humid conditions.
The middle-order still looks crippled without the likes of Ricky
Ponting but with Michael Hussey’s return to international cricket, it
sure is going to be a big boost and he is slated to play at the top of the order. Glenn Maxwell was handed over his
international debut but he failed to get going. Michael Hussey scored
a blistering knock and that helped Australia post a competitive
Afghanistan looked to go all-out attack
from the word go and that’s where lack of international experience
showed upon the way they went about chasing down the 270-odd total.
Asghar Salamkhail played a very organized knock. In the end, the lack
of experience did them in and they lost too many wickets at one go.
Moving onto the Pakistan series,
Australia have prepared well as they will be playing night-morning
matches, which at times could get grueling. Callum Ferguson has been
recalled for one more time. Clint McKay had to be withdrawn due to
an injury and Alister McDermott is in the 15-man squad. Their bowling
side looks decent with Pattinson, Johnson, Starc as their main
pacemen and Xavier Doherty as the lone spinner.
Pakistan are a very
good side, and in sub-continental pitches, its tougher to beat them.
Led by Misbah-ul-Haq, they have a rookie, Anwar Ali in their squad.
The likes of Hafeez, Ajmal, Kamran and Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi,
Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir had good
outings in a domestic league in Sri Lanka and that should aid them
Expect Pakistan to win the series as
they look more balanced a side compared to Australia. But you never
know, the team from Down Under can beat any side on any given day if
they click well.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Afghanistan will get one more chance to play a Test nation when they meet Australia in a one-off ODI. The mega-event will take place in Sharjah and there should be good crowd coming in. Afghanistan have played only one Test playing side ever when they took on Pakistan earlier this year in February. Afghanistan displayed a spirited effort against Pakistan but could not come up with a good first innings total and Pakistan proved too strong a side to thwart away any danger. Australia are starting off a tour to UAE to face Pakistan for three ODIs and three T20Is.
This match should prove to be a good warm-up exercise before they take part in the tough hot and humid conditions in the UAE. The last time Australia played an ODI series, they were thrashed 4-0 by England in a five-match ODI series. Luckily for them, one match was called off due to rain and that saved Australia the blushes of the possibility of a whitewash. There are certain aspects which Australia are yet to solve. Their batting is a big concern with the team failing to get the right combinations. Michael Clarke has stated that he will promote himself up the order at No.3 and that is a very positive stand, given that since the departure of Ricky Ponting, Australia haven’t found a good replacement. Michael Hussey returns to the squad and he will add strength to the weak middle order. Australia will have a tough choice for selection between Daniel Christian and George Bailey. Bailey was the top run getter in the last series against England but Christian provides all-round option. The pace department will be without Brett Lee and hence they will go in with an inexperienced bowling line-up of James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and youngster Alister McDermott. The spin department will be led by Xavier Doherty. Michael Clarke and Doherty will be the biggest threats for Afghanistan.
For Afghanistan, their star player Hamid Hasan, who is their strike bowler, misses out due to a knee injury. Their captain Nawroz Mangal has admitted that it is a very big occasion to play against Australia and they would aim to get the maximum chance to put up a tough fight. Karim Sadiq and Mohammad Nabi are their main weapons and they would be looking to shine on the biggest stage and if possible, achieve glory for the team. It’s very rare that Afghanistan get a chance to play against a top-level side and this could be a good learning experience for their youngsters. Australia go into the match as favourites but Afghanistan, if they play to their potential, have the capability to turn the tables around.
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