It’s a common used phrase by commentators the world over, that you can’t win a Test match on the first day, but you can go a long way to potentially losing it, and Pakistan ensured that they didn’t achieve the latter on Day 1 of their 1st Test against Australia in Dubai.
The host nation might have bored the pants off the watching few, but they have already demonstrated that they know how to bat on these wickets, and it will be interesting to see how the likes of David Warner and the more positive Aussie batsmen fare when it’s their turn to bat on this surface…. and they will be batting last in this match as well.
I thought Mitchell Johnson was exceptional again today, especially as Pakistan’s batsmen seemed to adopt a tactic to just not play him. If they do that again on Day 2 and Australia get frustrated, it will be interesting to see how Michael Clarke handles his star bowler’s workload in these conditions.
The Test match is starting to shape up nicely and despite the boredom of Day 1, I am fascinated to see how the rest of this Test match pans out. Will Australia fall into the sort of traps that England have in the past in these conditions, or are they really the real deal? I do feel these next four days of Test cricket could go some way to answering this question.
I have to admit that I did write on this blog yesterday that I couldn’t see past an Aussie win in this match, although in fairness, in what can only be described as a touch of fence sitting, I did also advise caution as Pakistan have the attack well suited to maximize the Headingley condiditons.
And they certainly did just that.
Either way, it was some days cricket. I have waited years to see that happen to Australia, shame it couldn’t have been an English attack that did it though, but never mind.
In the betting, Pakistan are now into 8/15 with Stan James to finally beat the Aussies, who are now 5/2 with Bet365. The draw is 8/1 with Totesport.
I wasn’t too accurate in saying a draw looked nailed on in Galle either, another crazy day there saw 12 wickets fall. India are now on the brink of defeat, and maybe the wicket wasn’t that batsman friendly after all.
One thing that is for sure, is that either India’s batting or bowling, or maybe both hasn’t been up to scratch as they are being outplayed by Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka are now favourites to wrap up the win at a best price of 1/4 with Paddy Power, the draw is now out to 10/3 with Bet365, and India are 150/1 with Stan James, although 1000/1 would be more accurate.
As expected the 1st test between Sri Lanka and India looks to be heading for a tame draw. A mixture of rain, bad light and the awful anti-cricket pitches they prepare in Sri Lanka has meant that this match looks likely to have no result.
The draw looks the obvious outcome, but at 1/5 is way too short to back.
In the 2nd test between Australia and Pakistan starting at Headingley tomorrow, it is no great shock to find that Australia are favourites to win at a best price of 8/11 with Stan James.
The unpredictable Pakistan are a large looking 13/2 with Totesport and Bet365, quite a large price for a team with a seam attack comprising of Gul, Asif and Ammer, and bowling at Headingley.
But then the fact that Australia have beaten them in their last 13 tests would suggest why the price is so large.
The draw, or a lot of rain as it could be Pakistan’s best chance of a result is 12/5 with Sportingbet.
Pakistan have Salman Butt starting his first game as captain. He was by far their best batsman at Lord’s, so they will be hoping the extra pressure won’t effect his scoring.
In a further boost to their team, the retirement of Afridi has opened the door for the return of Shoaib Malik to come in and shore up the batting. Australia look set to remain unchanged.
For me it is hard to see past an Australian win. But I would be cautious about this one, because when Pakistan bowl if the conditions are right they have a seam attack well equiped to exploit the Headingley conditions.