Australia vs Pakistan Review

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PakistanAll in all it was a fairly one-sided test series between Australia and Pakistan this summer. The Pakistani’s, as younger sides tend to do, played with erratic brilliance, but couldn’t sustain the kind of pressure South Africa placed on Australia last test summer. As a result they suffered a series whitewash, and must re-group before tough test series’ against England and Australia again.

Here are the player ratings for the Australian team.

Shane Watson – 9: It is really extraordinary to say that Watson was indeed the standout batsmen in this series. Although Ricky Ponting scored more runs, Watson was far more consistent, averaging 69 with a century and two half centuries. He has cemented his spot at the top of the order for now.

Simon Katich – 7: Katich missed a test in this series, but still managed to score 211 runs at 52. He plays the perfect foil to the more attacking Watson, Ponting and Clarke, and his work at short leg was also outstanding. His three key wickets in the final test were also impressive.

Phil Hughes – 2: Perhaps it’s unfair to judge a player on one test, but Hughes really did look all at sea. He made just 37 runs in the test and had no real effect on the match. He will be hard pressed to dislodge Watson or Katich at the top of the order.

Ricky Ponting – 8: Ponting hadn’t been in great form leading up to this series, but an average of 63 with a best of 209 spoke volumes. He also gets points for his captaincy, which was far superior to that of Mohammed Yousuf.

Mike Hussey – 5: Hussey did score an excellent hundred in the series, however if you take that out of the equation then he scored just 133 runs in his other 5 innings. The end is near for Hussey and I think next summer’s Ashes series will be his swansong.

Michael Clarke – 6: Pup’s series was also a little lop-sided, he scored a magnificent 166 alongside Ponting at Hobart, but it was in a dead rubber, and other than that he scored a mere 89 runs at 22. Clarke still needs to work on his consistency if he’s to be one of the greats, but he still has time to do it.

Marcus North – 1: This is a series that Marcus North would like to forget, and at the same time he’d also love it if the selectors had a mental blank as well! 41 runs at 10 is clearly not good enough, and he is in serious trouble. In essence he is lucky that Hughes didn’t perform, as I’m sure the selectors would love to push Watson to number 6 and have Hughes and Katich at the top.

Brad Haddin – 6: If judging a keeper’s performance was just based on his form behind the stumps, then Haddin would rate a lot higher for this series; he was exceptional. However, we do judge keepers on their batting, and 70 runs at 14 just ain’t good enough. He’s got to start pacing his innings better if he’s to bat long and effectively in test cricket.

Mitchell Johnson – 7: Johnson is really a wonder. He just doesn’t look like the kind of bowler that would continually and consistently take wickets…however, he does!! 12 wickets at 25 along with 71 runs at 15 is a more than handy contribution. Only Nathan Hauritz bowled more overs than Johnson, so he is due for a well earned break.

Nathan Hauritz – 8: I just can’t bring myself to give Hauritz the ‘9’ that he probably deserves, because I just feel that most of his wickets came from silly shots. That said, you can’t argue with 18 wickets at 23, as well as 120 runs at 30. He is growing into a pretty good player, whether I like it or not!

Peter Siddle – 4: Whether he was Australia’s ‘unluckiest’ bowler or not, Siddle needed to take more wickets in this series. You would think that his bowling on Australian pitches would have been the hardest to deal with for the Pakistani batsmen, but Siddle’s modest total of 8 wickets tells another story.

Doug Bollinger – 8: Bollinger was just bloody good this series. He bowled with the kind of aggression that Siddle couldn’t find, and he also played great foil time and time again to the spin of Hauritz. 12 wickets at 21 is an excellent return, and Ben Hilfenhaus will have his work cut out to displace him.

Alright, here now are the ratings for the Pakistan team, in batting order again.

Salman Butt – 8: 280 runs at 46 might not sound like an amazing output, but when the next best has an average of 38, then you’ve certainly performed well. Butt was very consisten during the series, and capped it off with an attractive hundred in Hobart. His running between the wickets, and general scoring rate altogether, were pretty ordinary, but it was a good series for the left-hander.

Imran Farhat – 5: Farhat didn’t score too many runs (148 in 6 innings), but he was fairly consistent in sticking around and seeing off the new ball. Like Butt, he was fairly slow with his scoring.

Khurram Manzoor – 6: One game can’t tell you much, and in fact after the first innings you’d say it was going to be a disastrous match for Manzoor, but his 77 in the second innings showed class, and he may well have the temperate that some of his counterparts just don’t seem to have.

Faisal Iqbal – 2: Very poor through the two tests he played. This guy just keeps getting chances in the team, probably because he’s related to Javed Miandad, however he just hasn’t got what it takes as 97 runs at 24 suggests.

Mohammed Yousuf – 4: Very very disappointing. I was thoroughly looking forward to watching Yousuf bat, but his head just wasn’t in the right place. The pressure of captaincy isn’t good for him, or his team. His captaincy in the field was very poor, and his series average of 29 for a guy who averages over 50 through his career is indicative of his time here this summer.

Umar Akmal – 5: There is no doubting that this guy has talent to burn. I guess the question is whether he’ll be able to shape his game to become a fine test cricketer, or whether he’ll go down the Shahid Afridi route and never really make it as a player in the longer form. Exiting at times, but gave his wicket away too easily.

Misbah-ul-Haq – 3: A very lean series for Misbah. It’s strange really because he has the look of a fine test batsmen, particularly in how tall he stays at the wicket. But he seems to lose concentration, and may not believe in himself enough, which couldn’t be helped by his sacking after just two tests.

Shoaib Malik – 6: Looked good in Hobart, and I think could actually make a good number three. He has the patience, and also the flair to be a fine player. His 58 alongside Butt’s century was a good knock, but unfortunately threw it away. Also a very handy off-break bowler.

Kamran Akmal – 2: Well, what can you say that hasn’t been said already?!? Just a seriously bad game in Sydney, and his batting really let him down with only 67 runs in two tests. But he is a fighter, and I feel probably tries to talk his captain into setting better fields. A bad series, but didn’t deserved to be dropped.

Safraz Ahmed – 4: Looked fine behind the stumps, but didn’t perform with the bat on debut.

Mohammed Aamer – 5: Looks very promising, and my God he reminds me of Wasim Akram. But seriously, he was very good in Melbourne, and struggled a bit after injury in Hobart. Handy with the bat, and will only get faster and feistier with the ball, especially now Waqar Younis is helping out.

Umar Gul – 3: Looks to a bowler with very little confidence, which is a shame, because he is obviously a fine cricketer. 5 wickets in two test matches just isn’t good enough though, even if he did manage some lusty hitting with the bat.

Danish Kaneria – 5: 9 wickets at 46 in two test isn’t great, but he did hold down an end, and admittedly should really have won the game in Sydney had his wicketkeeper given him one iota of support. A fine test bowler on spinning tracks, but lacked the venom in Hobart.

Sajeed Ajmal – 1: Very disappointing effort in Melbourne, admittedly on a batsmen’s track. I saw him spin the ball square in a ODI series against the Aussies in Dubai, but his venom seemed to non-existent in Melbourne, and he was duly dropped.

Abdur Rauf – 1: Was very poor in his only test. Looked like a good nets bowler, and that’s about it.

Mohammed Sami – 5: His spell in the first innings in Sydney was outstanding, and I’m not really sure why he was dropped for Hobart. Sami has always promised a lot, but really seemed to deliver in Sydney where he was largely unplayable, but did let himself down in the second knock.

Mohammed Asif – 8: Absolutely and easily the best of the Pakistan bowling line up. He was the only bowler to play all three tests, and had a ton of work in all three. He took 13 wickets at 28, but also had an excellent economy rate of 2.74, the only Pakistani to have under 3. He could have got more wickets had his team actually cared about catching the ball, and he was also handy with the bat at times. A top class player.

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