Friday, October 05, 2007

Pakistan vs. South Africa First Test, Day 5

Hello, and welcome to Rs. 5’s coverage of day 5 of the first test between Pakistan and South Africa. (All times are local i.e. Chicago)

11:55 p.m: It’s amazing what one good innings can do for Pakistan fans. Younis played brilliantly yesterday and suddenly the PakPassion guys are starting threads like “We can win this” and “Are you excited/nervous?” Sorry guys, this is over, done, and dusted. Why am I blogging the day’s events then, you ask? Because (a) I have no class, TA section or workshop tomorrow and can therefore afford to sleep in; and (b) mind your own business.

12:01 a.m: Harris pulls up before his first delivery. Do you really need to partake in gamesmanship to get rid of Mohammad Asif? Just bowl the ball, man.

12:02 a.m: And we’re away. 276 more needed.

12:04 a.m: Kepler Wessels says Harris should come over the wicket to the left-hander (Asif) to exploit the rough outside the off-stump. Between Wessels, Zaheer Abbas and Waqar Younis, this series will shatter all records for “Most bleedingly obvious comments made by the commentators”.

12:06 a.m: Younis is really stretching forward here. First three balls by Nel and he’s gotten well forward and outside the line. Obviously trying to obviate the LBW or bowled from one that stays low.

12:11 a.m: My feed has disappeared. I swear if we’ve lost a wicket while this bullshit graphic is in my face, I’m going to be fucking pissed off.

12:13 a.m: My fiancée was telling me a story the other day, where a colleague of her friend’s got really frustrated at work when his computer crashed and he smashed his head into the screen. Guess who feels like doing that right now? Actually, I shouldn’t. I’m a grad student; I can barely afford my meals, let alone a new computer.

12:16 a.m: We’re back. Younis got to his hundred while we were away. Fuck streaming feeds, man. Seriously.

12:21 a.m: Nel bounces Asif, who fends it to short leg. Waqar tells us, “He couldn’t do nothing about that.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Four down and in comes Misbah.

12:25 a.m: For a guy who doesn’t get it above 135, Nel sure does do a lot of talking and staring. I hereby proclaim that the ICC should promulgate a new law: you’re not allowed to sledge unless you can bowl faster than 143 km/h on average.

12:34 a.m: I must say that Zaheer Abbas is now on commentary. No doubt.

12:39 a.m: This is bullshit, man. I’m getting this goddamn buffering crap continually. I’m restarting my computer. Something better not happen while I’m restarting and logging into my illegal feed website.

12:47 a.m: The good news is that no one got out while I was away. The bad news is that this stupid feed is still acting up. That, and the fact that Zaheer Abbas is evidently still alive.

12:52 a.m: I may not be getting any cricket, but I am being treated to a fine selection of classical Indian music. Thanks guys, I'm not sleepy enough as it is.

12:54 a.m: Still no cricket, so let's start one of those meaningless and unresolvable debates that sports fan always seem to get into. Today's first selection: in ascending order of big teams, which opposition do Pakistani fans want to least lose a home test to? I would say the list goes something like: West Indies, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, England, and India. That sounds about right. If you're wondering why England is above Australia, it's because we expect to lose to Australia, so it's not a huge deal when we actually do.

1:28 a.m: Cricket! Dear God, it's cricket! Oh dear Lords of The Internet, You are too kind with Thy Blessings! I was just beginning to enjoy repeatedly clicking refresh on the Cricinfo live scorecard.

1:29 a.m: By the way, while I was away, Younis and Misbah played some scintillating cricket, adding about 30 runs in 15 overs. Hey man, I can't complain. That's 15 overs without a wicket (touchwood, mashallah, touchwood, mashallah).

1:32 a.m: A local Gillette ad. What a hideously unattractive man. Those marketing people at Gillette are really earning their money. Oh, well. At least he had a bad-ass bike (red in color by the way) and a nice looking babe hopping on to said bike at the end of the ad. Wonder where they're going.

1:34 a.m: Oooooooooooh. Younis survives a LBW shout from Steyn. Waqar thinks it was out. I'm not so sure but it was mighty, mighty close.

1:34 a.m: Ball stays low, Younis gets bowled. I'm in a real Cartman mood right now. As in "Screw you guys, I'm going home." No chance of a draw now.

1:38 a.m: Come on, rain! Come on!

1:39 a.m: What if Shoaib Malik blazes 169 off 171 balls and wins this game by tea? What if?

1:44 a.m: I'm kind of hungry. Unfortunately, no delivery man in his right mind will be out and about in Hyde Park at quarter to two in the morning. Do you know people have gotten mugged in broad daylight outside the friggin' UChicago gym? As soon as I can afford it, I'm moving the hell out of here. River North is nice, yes? As for my hunger, here I come Mr. Vending Machine! (Please Malik and Misbah, don't get out while I'm gone).

1:51 a.m: The U.S. should change its slogan to "America: Where $1.60 will get you 680 calories, no questions asked".

1:56 a.m: Where the hell is Ntini?

1:58 a.m: On cue, Jackman notices he's loosening up. Waqar wonders where he's been. I think I should apply for a job as a commentator and say on my resume "I notice everything Waqar does, except two minutes earlier. I can also speak the goddamn language."

2:02 a.m: Misbah and Malik are blocking everything. This is the best way to lose, as any half-decent fan of the game knows. Plus, against a panicky captain like Smith, a fair amount of attacking cricket will preclude an over-abundance of close-in fielders in the later parts of the day.

2:17 a.m: I have to tell you, boys and girls, if this keeps up, I'm going to sleep at lunch. I've had a long day and this slow, torturous death isn't exactly helping me stay awake. This is Sachin crica 2005 (Bangalore) type stuff and there's only one way "vigils" like that end. On a related note, Malik is 3 off 38 and Misbah is 11 off 83.

2:25 a.m: Smith comes in and serves up a few long hops as Pakistan score 13 in the over. That's one less than the previous fourteen overs combined. Seven of those fourteen were maidens by the way.

2:28 a.m: Ian Bishop informs us that Inzi has been drafted into the squad for the second test and that he will retire after it. Zaheer Abbas, classy as ever, says "It'll be a good time to retire for him."

2:29 a.m: Amla into the attack. Why do I have a bad feeling about this? One minute before lunch, loosey goosey bowler on...don't do anything stupid, guys. Please.

2:30 a.m: Malik drives him through mid-on for four. 194 to go!!

2:31 a.m: Lunch it is. Five down. God that Younis dismissal hurt. I'm still thinking about it. Anyway, let's see how much longer I can stay up.

3.30 a.m: And we're back. By the way, the best way to fight sleep is watch Jon Stewart videos on

3:34 a.m: What a start. Misbah, you complete choot. For the record, he goes LBW to Nel right after lunch. In comes Kaneria's hero, Kamran Akmal.

3:36 a.m: Malik's giving instructions to Akmal. I wonder what he's saying. Probably something like, "Mohali yaad hai na? Bus wohi karna hai".

3:38 a.m: 50-odd overs to go. What if Akmal lashes a counter-attacking 134 off 123 balls to take us home? What if?

3:39 a.m: This Harris fellow isn't turning it. On a dusty-ass, turning, dry pitch on day 5, he's not turning it. Unbelievable.

3:44 a.m: You know, I make fun of Waqar a lot for his accent and his vocabulary and whatnot, but the guy knows his cricket. If you can look past the sheer incompetence as a commentator, he actually has some really valuable insights into fast bowling. He'd be a great bowling coach. The PCB should really think about hiring him. Oh, wait.

3:46 a.m: Akmal hits Harris through point for four and moves on to 9 off 4. Maybe he's taking my whole "134 off 123" thing seriously.

3:53 a.m: Akmal nicks Harris to Boucher who takes a catch that Akmal himself would have dropped. Ok, boys and girls, I'm going to sleep. Sorry for the incomplete report, but I'm sure you understand.


Ahsan said...

i also want to add, before i finally go to sleep, that i've been thoroughly impressed with SA in this game. they've outplayed us and they really really deserve this win. now no matter what happens at lahore, SA have shown they're a better team than us (home and away, they're up 3-1 over the last 6 months). congrats to them.

ngncqn said...

How magnanimous. Im sure your readers will appreciate the sentiments of diversity, tolerance, and liberalism expressed in that post. Screw them I say, Islam zindabad!

Moss J said...

Hahaha heya man,

My condolence for the loss.

But I think we have a gud chance of winning in Lahore but not if they make a flat pitch like the one which they Sehwag and Dravid made a 400 run stand on.

I really miss Shoaib because I think lvoe him or hate him he is still a very fine bowler. Our spinners always get a boost when he gets a wicket and bowl better with him bowking on the other end.
Also Pakistani pitches are so poor that you need to take them out of the equation which Shoaib can do like against England when he bowled yorkers and slower balls.
I am still a fan of his even though everyone thinks he is past it. He is not. He is as good as Asif and some would say he is better.

Here is my teem for the next match. Allah Tallah will InshaAllah give us a victory.

Akmal (i think Younis should keep - anything than this dallah)

I think Butt is terrible batsman. He is probably mroe intelligent than Hafeez and Hameed combine but bechara has no natural talents.
I think it may be advisable to open with Malik and play extra bowler.
Oh how i wish that extra bowler could be Shoaib.

Moss J said...

In that case one of the spinners should be 12th man while Malik opens.

But then we only have 3 specialist bowlers.

Hhmmmmm. Y is this squad so low on bowlers. I dont think we are gaining much by playing Rao.

Ahsan said...

moss j you need to get over shoaib. if he had played one of two things would have happened.

1. he would've struggled mightily on an extremely docile pitch (pls go read the scorecards from the first two tests against india in pakistan last yr).

2. he would've gotten injured on the first morning and left us with three bowlers in extremely harsh conditions the rest of the way.

i think you're also wrong about butt. he catches an enormous amount of flak from many people and i dont understand it. why isnt he given the chances that imran the terrible and taufeeq have had (and squandered)? here would be my team for the second test:

1. butt
2. hameed
3. younis
4. yousuf
5. inzi
6. malik
7. akmal (gulp)
8. dani
9. gullie
10. asif
11. sami (double gulp)

when inzi goes, misbah can come in for him. the rest of this team is relatively young and should be allowed to gel and grow together for the next 10-12 months.

Moss J said...

this is the only reason i dont enjoy your analysis because of the extreme bias spin you put on.

Yes Shoaib did bowl poor in those first 2 tests against India. DID ASIF BOWL ANY BETTER? DID ANY BOWLER BOWL ANY BETTER? Can ANY bowler be judged by hi perfornace on a lifeless pith. How deep is your hatred, man?

That was an extremely stupid point you are making. Please consider. You know those pitches were VERY flat. You KNOW they were so flat that an opening standing of 400 was made. SO flat that Afridi scored hundreds in both tests. If u read the bulletin of both tests you will see that the bowlers were vary unsuccesful.

Yet your bias goes so deep that you use the worse ptches to point out that Shoaib cant perform.

What next? "Oh Shoaib is such a bad bowler. Remember that time he was bowling in a sandy each and not getting any bounce".

Please admit your ppoint was bad. There are other INTELLIGENT instances you can point to show Shoaib performing below power. It is nonsense using the peformance on the FLATTET pitch to substntiat your theory.

Please now dont say: "well asif bowled very well in the third test, so there."

Moss J said...

Also my friend, Mohd Sami si not in the test squad.

Ahsan said...

first of all, i KNOW, mohd sami is not in the squad. the 11 i presented was my desire, not my expectation.

secondly, the point i was trying to make in bringing up the first two indian tests is to debunk the assertion many shoaib fans (including yourself) make when they say that shoaib "takes the pitch out of the equation" (pls go read your first comment). clearly, on the basis of those two games, he does not. a slow pitch is a slow pitch. i was making the case that if shoaib played in this khi test against SA he would have had the same success or perhaps less success as (a) asif and gul here and (b) himself against india, because it was a similar wicket. combine this with the very real possibility that he would've gotten injured (a point i notice you conveniently ignore) and there is no case for playing shoaib here, or anywhere else.