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What Will the New Years Test at the SCG Bring This Time?

by achettup

Australia have an excellent record at the SCG. They've won every match they've played there since 2004. The game they lost in 2003 to England was a dead rubber -  they'd won the previous four matches. That's the only loss that shows up in the last 10 years. But the last couple have been pretty exciting.

In 2008 India managed a 69 run first innings lead and were set a challenging 333 runs to win, but folded up quite dramatically with Michael Clarke dismissing three tailenders in 5 balls to wrap up the match with just a couple of minutes to spare. Ok, thats all we're going to say about that match, seriously.

In 2009, Australia had lost both their previous tests and handed McDonald and Bollinger their Baggy Greens in what could have been considered a small shake-up. They went on to dominate the match after Johnson broke Graeme Smith's hand in the first innings. Set 376 to win, South Africa opened with Morne Morkel who lasted all off 4 balls. Although they didn't bat as well as they had in the past, Australia still struggled to get rid of them and just when they thought they'd finished the job, Smith made his way out to the middle playing almost with one hand. It was a courageous effort, but ended in vain when Australia managed to wrap the game with just a few of the mandatory overs left.

What this shows is that Australia have just barely won their recent games at the SCG, but usually thats been on the back of a pretty solid batting effort, usually in the third innings. While their bowling attack should only be underestimated at one's own risk, few would say it as good as the attack in 2007 that included the legendary McGrath and Warne combination. To force the win therefore, Australia will have to once again put in a strong performance in their second innings, and dismiss Pakistan for as low a total as they can in this innings. Given Pakistan's penchant for batting collapses, that doesn't seem unrealistic and you can expect a lot more application from the Aussie batsmen in the third innings compared to some of the ridiculous strokes played on the first day.

But the cricket team takes losses very personally in Australia, and its often brought out the best in some of their performances, but the worst in many other aspects. They will be bitter about the way they folded up in the first innings and determined to take that out on their opponents. So if Pakistan doesn't roll over feebly, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a few unsavory incidents to influence the way they want things to go. An exciting match lies in prospect, but lets hope that that is all it ends up being.

1 comment:

Gaurav Sethi said...

Wake up to no cable, and now Faisal's gone; tho at 205/3, Pak will have to lose it from here. The match is set up for the Akmals to run their family biz. That, and the bowlers need to remain fit and drug free.