Stories about Test cricket

Pakistan versus South Africa: Plenty to learn still

Despite promising much, the Pakistani cricket team could deliver little against the South African juggernaut. It was a sound thrashing and a reminder that despite their resurgence over the past couple of years, the tourists have still got plenty to learn. A number of things went wrong for Pakistan right from the beginning. Starting with team selection, Rahat Ali – who was only sent as reinforcement – was chosen ahead of the first-choice Mohammad Irfan and Ehsan Adil. Regardless of the fact that his bowling was mostly ineffective, it is the manner of his selection that should raise serious questions. Irfan and Ehsan Adil must ...

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Farewell Ponting: You will be missed, but never forgotten!

Monday, December 4, 2012 marked the end of an era when Ricky Ponting walked out for the last time in an international match at the fall of Shane Watson’s wicket – a reality not lost on the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) crowd as they rose in unison to applaud him. Smith gathered his team in a guard of honour and they clapped Ponting to the crease.

Ponting is carried off the WACA in Perth by team mates David Warner (L) and captain Michael Clarke. Photo: Reuters

After the Australian openers had laid waste the opposition bowling, Ponting ...

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On Shane Warne’s outburst against Aleem Dar

For any Test match lover, the last week has been heaven’s prototype model. Tests pitting Australia against South Africa, India against England, Sri Lanka against New Zealand and Bangladesh against the West Indies; for the third time in cricket history, four Test matches were played on a single day (Sunday). Shane Warne was in India, commentating in Mumbai for Star Sports. The on-field umpires Tony Hill and Aleem Dar had a bad game. They made some bad decisions which were spread out over the four days, from Friday to Monday. Here’s what Shane Warne tweeted, after the game culminated in England’s victory: It is interesting to note ...

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The time for Haris Sohail is now!

Two years ago Pakistan’s selectors put their faith in two young batsmen who had been scoring heavily in domestic cricket. Today, both these batsman – Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq – are a permanent feature of Pakistan’s Test team and have become vital cogs in a strong middle order for Pakistan. They fit in perfectly into the void left in the middle order that was created when Inzamamul Haq and Mohammad Yousuf left. I believe, however, that now the time has come for another young batsman to be selected; in my opinion, it’s time to bring Haris Sohail into the ...

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Nothing but respect for Hashim Amla

The quiet, soft spoken and religiously devout Hashim Amla who hails from the Natal province in South Africa was a relatively unknown cricketer back in August 2006. It was then, during a pulsating Test match between South Africa and Sri Lanka when Dean Jones, former Australian batting legend turned cricket commentator, hurled an extremely offensive jibe at Hashim Amla. “The terrorist has got another wicket” Said Jones, referring to Amla after he took a catch. Jones was under the impression that the microphone was not live. Regardless of that, his comment was absolutely preposterous. Amla had been left out of the Test side after ...

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Game on: When Shoaib Akhtar made us proud

The third day’s play between Pakistan and Australia was in progress in Colombo on October 5, 2002. It was the first Test match of the series where Pakistan was forced to play an almost second string side due to the unavailability of  players like Saeed Anwar, Inzamamul Haq, Muhammad Yousuf and Wasim Akram. The weather was extremely hot and humid, as is usually associated with the Sri Lankan climate. Australia performed according to all expectations and dominated the match, scoring 467 in the first innings and bowling out Pakistan’s inexperienced batting line-up at 279 on the third day’s play, gaining a lead of ...

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Was Afridi the reason behind our loss?

Well it was a good ride wasn’t it? We put on a good show for the world. We proved that in the midst of all the trauma, we can still punch and kick hard in cricket’s global events. But like most times, except in 2009, when the team was led by Younis Khan in 2009, possibly one of our best captains who led in a seriously troubled time, we didn’t have enough talent to go all the way.    Hafeez is a good captain. Sometimes he appears to over think stuff like the inventive field placing in Gul’s last over in ...

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Will England be annihilated again by South Africa?

England has an uphill battle to save their number one status in World Test Rankings going into the second test match with South Africa. They were annihilated in the first match by a team that displayed mastery of English conditions that England couldn’t muster itself. South Africa lost only two wickets to England’s runs of 20 and Amla outscored the whole of the England team’s second innings singlehandedly; 311 to 240. This certainly does not reflect a contest billed as the battle of the titans or battle for the world supremacy; it was as one-sided as a contest could ...

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To hell with ODIs and T20s; it’s Test cricket that matters!

When the ICC made the annual adjustments to its Test team rankings to reflect the recent form, a couple of days ago, the Pakistani fans were in for a pleasant surprise. Pakistan was ranked at number four, which is the highest ranking it has achieved in the past five years! There was a time when Pakistan was ranked third in Test matches. It was not that far back and till the first half of 2007 Pakistan maintained this rank, behind Australia and England. When the annual revision came around in 2007, the new rankings showed Pakistan at number six – its lowest ranking ...

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Azhar Ali: A crutch to a feeble batting contingent

The winter of 2009-10, brought public shame and disgrace to Pakistani cricket; the Aussies did not let us taste victory in any format, mainly due to the alleged in-house fighting. The tour was followed by bans and fines, which meant that Pakistan’s touring contingent to England was bereft of Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan for obvious reasons. Hence, the mantle of responsibility was on the feeble youngsters. Much to our delight, Shahid Afridi was made captain of all three formats, bringing him out of a self-imposed abeyance from Test matches. The Test team included some new faces like Umar Amin and ...

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