Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thoughts on the first three days at Lahore

Ok, so this first test hasn't set the world alight. It's still been absorbing cricket though (as far as I can tell through all the "buffering" and the "waiting"). Anyways, here are some random thoughts on the cricket so far:

Thanks, Asoka!
You've got to feel sorry for the Windies and the decisions they've gotten in this game. Fine, they batted like complete idiots that first morning (the Ganga and Bravo dismissals, brilliant as they were, paled in comparison to Ramdin's majestic sweep against the spin 2 balls before lunch). But there's no way in hell they deserve to be 200 runs behind with 7 second-innings wickets left with 2 days to go. Gayle was not out in the first innings, Sarwan in the second. Most egregious of all was Yousuf being given not out when he was clearly stumped. Amazingly, Asoka didn't even call for the third umpire. If that had been given, Pakistan would have ended up with something like 300 or so, rather than the 500 we actually ended up getting. I know, I know, Lara was plumb in front in the first innings but wasn't given. But think about it: Lara wouldn't have even been there if Gayle wasn't wrongly given out. I don't want to get mired in counterfactuals here, but suffice it to say the Windies have been Haired in this game.

Poor, poor Lara
The West Indies at their worst remind me of Pakistan at their worst in the mid-late 90s. They collapse so easily it's not even funny. Amidst all the rubble was, of course, Lara. How many times has he had to go through this? How many times has he been the only one to make a score? He is truly a tortured artist, except the people doing the torturing are on his own team. It's such a shame that a player of his class and talent can't be on a winning team, or even a drawing team. We should offer him Pakistani citizenship, the captaincy, the pitches he wants, the money he wants, whatever sponsorship deals he wants, cars, houses, the whole enchilada. Then we can open with him and Hafeez. Which reminds me...

The run-out
I don't believe Farhat got that direct hit to get Ganga. Such a travesty. Even though he didn't get a score, the run-out will mean that this will be counted as a good test match for him. The selectors will stay with him now at least until the Australia series in 08 on the basis of that one throw, keeping in line with the whole "anything Salman Butt does must be forgotten immediately but anything Farhat does must be fondly rememberd for eons even though he's a flashy, catch-dropping little shit who needs to take off that goddamn bandana" rule.

The commentators
Actually, I think Intikhab has been a valuable addition to the team, really. It is really nice to hear his melodic voice for at least 2 hours a day, really. He really has a really good grasp of the game, really. Actually, his points are pretty sound, really, and he gets them across succintly, really. I actually enjoyed it, really, when he referred to Dave Mohammad as Mohammad Dave, really. I curse all TV companies, really, who never hired him before this series, really. Acually, Ten Sports can make up for it by keeping him on the whole day and rotating the rest of the commentators, really. God bless Intikhab Alam! (Really)

The ball he got Lara with was, without a doubt, one of the best deliveries I've ever seen in a test. No joke. Lara was in one his I'm-just-going-to-be-really-solid moods, he was looking really good, had a 60 odd to his name, and Gul bowled the absolute perfect ball to him. The Gayle (2nd innings) one wasn't too bad either. It's so nice to see this guy with some wickets. He deserves everything he gets. I thought the commentators were a little harsh on his first spell on the first day. Ok, Gayle knocked him around a little bit but I don't think it was that bad. Plus, he came back really strongly. Manjrekar made it seem like his 5 wickets were thoroughly undeserved. Couldn't disagree more. I also loved his little cameo partnership with Dani yesterday. Straight bat and all, I think Gully should be promoted. To the openers slot, preferably, so we can field another bowler (whose absence we might have felt if the Windies had half a collective brain).

The pitch
Not exactly the WACA is it? For the record, I don't think it's as bad as everyone is making it out to be. The reason we were scoring so slowly was that Shoaib Malik was working himself back into form and that two of our quicker-scoring players (Inzi and Younis) got 11 between them. The fact that Yousuf wasn't too far from his usual pace, and that Akmal was pretty much par for the course strike rate-wise, should tell you it's really not that bad. There's not much bounce in it but when is there ever bounce in Pakistani pitches anyway? I do think though that if a partnership gets going, it might be a long day today. One of those Dani-bowling-38-overs days. Which is fine, because I think (and hope) he'll pick up wickets. He looked really good in the first innings and should hopefully end up with at least 5 in the match, if not more.

Things I want to see today
Just two, because I'm not that selfish. One, a Lara hundred. Two, a Pakistan win by tea so I can get some sleep. Come on, boys, let's make this happen.

1 comment:

f-machine said...

In some ways this has been the ideal test match. A yousuf hundred (lazy elegance and very easy on the eyes (Rameez Raja cliche #549099)) and a likely Pakistan win and a Brian Lara hundred..

Oh and I'm very happy for Umar Gul and Hafeez..

And I hope you were being sarcastic about Intikhab Alam.. His wheezing and huffing and puffing makes it sound like he's going to pop off any minute. They should throw him out of the commentary box in his own best interest..