Australia v Pakistan – Second Test Ratings

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at 2017.01.01
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After Australia scraped home against Pakistan in the First Test, the visitors headed to Melbourne, hoping to build upon the momentum and turn the series around. It, uh, didn’t quite work out that way.

Here are the ratings for the Second Test between Australia and Pakistan.

Boxing Day Crowds
Grade: D

It’s always fun to head into the MCG on Boxing Day for the first day of the Melbourne Test. Or, if not fun, then deeply terrifying indeed, with hordes of people still inebriated from Christmas dinner arriving for their once-a-year beer snake-making sessions, Mexican wave-initiation attempts and futility-doomed endeavours to understand the nuances of the LBW Law.

Still, they sure can shout ‘Nice, Garry’ loudly. And incessantly. And incessantly loudly. And isn’t that what cricket’s all about?

The Umpires
Grade: B

But enough of my absurd snobbery. The only reason I was grumpy with the Day One crowd was because there was precious little cricket afoot, thanks to inclement weather that threatened to ruin the entire Test with its weathery inclemency.

Luckily, at several points during Pakistan’s epic first innings that straddled three days, 443 runs and more Azhar Ali than any Australian fan had any right to see, the umpires appeared to give up on any semblance of ‘laws’ or ‘playing conditions’ or ‘time’. They took early lunches and teas, gave run outs out when they obviously weren’t and changed balls an over before they were due to be changed anyway. All on apparent whims.

Their spontaneity was much appreciated. Particularly by Steve Smith who at one point convinced them to have a rain delay before the actual rain arrived, because he was feeling peckish and worn out after bowling a few overs of his leg spin filth.

Mark Taylor
Grade: D-

Meanwhile, with Channel Nine’s Mark Nicholas struck down by illness, the other commentators in Nine’s team had to step up to cover. Obviously, none of them did so. But Mark ‘Tubby’ Taylor shone brightest in his failure to rise to the occasion.

Perhaps his least good moment was before play on Day Three when he asked double centurion Azhar Ali if the reason he didn’t get out was because it’d be too far to walk back to the dressing room.

Or perhaps it was when he described Younus Khan, a man who has scored 10,000-odd runs at an average of 53 as a ‘good competitor’.

Or maybe it was his ongoing assertions that he hasn’t ‘seen much of’, well, anybody.

Still, Tubby sure did captain Australia twenty years ago. And that’s the important thing.

Nic Maddinson
Grade: F+

One of the players Tubby no doubt ‘hasn’t seen much of’ was Pakistan captain and 71 Test veteran, Misbah-ul-Haq, who was caught brilliantly at bat-pad in the first innings by Nic Maddinson off the bowling of Jackson Bird.

The catch by the youngster off the inside edge onto pad elicited an enormous cheer from the crowd. Or, to put it another way:

(nick!)

Mad din, son.

The quality of the catch meant that Maddinson probably only needed a score of about ten to secure a spot in the Sydney Test. This was a tough ask, but Maddinson rose to the occasion, compiling an epic 22 to see his career average surge to 6.25.

It was a wonderful partnership between Maddinson and the previously discussed Tubby, who was coming up with so many excuses in commentary for why Maddinson was struggling that viewers would have been excused for thinking Nic was a long lost Marsh brother.

But it was all to no avail, because Ashton Agar went and hit a six off the bowling of Aaron Finch in a Big Bash game. Needless to say, this secured him a likely spot in the Sydney Test in place of Maddinson. Because, hell, why not?

(‘Hell, why not?’ is a registered trademark of the Australian Cricket national selection panel)

Dave Warner’s Leaping
Grade: B-

Vote for Leap D in the Australia v Pakistan Second Test 2016-17

Vote for Leap D in the Australia v Pakistan Second Test 2016-17

Australia’s chance to bat came after Pakistan declared at 9/443 early on Day Three. Matt Renshaw assessed the match situation perfectly and lost his wicket almost immediately so that Usman Khawaja and David Warner could motor along at five runs per over in an attempt to drag Australia back into the contest.

Warner went on to make a century – his first at the MCG and also his first after being bowled in his eighties by Wahab Riaz from a no ball. He celebrated the milestone with one of his trademark jumps.

SMS your vote for A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I or J to the number on your screen to enter Dave Warner’s Giant Jumps Competition and you could win a Toyota full of KFC.

Pakistan’s Final Day
Grade: D-

Heading into the final day, the match seemed doomed to an inevitable draw. But what we’ve learned from Australia in 2016 and from Pakistan throughout their entire cricketing history is that an absurd collapse is always a chance.

And it was Pakistan’s greater experience in this area that shone through, as they allowed Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc to push towards a 181 lead just before lunch, before spluttering calamitously to an innings and eighteen runs defeat in just two sessions.

Still, on the plus side, they didn’t lose any wickets to any mindless run outs this time. So, advantage Pakistan.

(Originally published at http://www.theroar.com.au/2016/12/31/the-liebke-ratings-australia-v-pakistan-second-test/)

Australia v Pakistan - First Test Ratings
Australia v Pakistan - Third Test Ratings

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