Now that the hype of the World Cup is starting to blow over, cricket has once again begun to take center stage in Pakistan. Very quietly Pakistan broke their awful losing streak to the mighty Australians by winning the two T20 matches and showed no signs of the scars we all bear after Hussey’s miraculous effort to knock Pakistan out of the World Cup. That gave the team the confidence they needed heading into the test arena, where the statistics send a shudder down every Pakistani’s spine. The last time Pakistan managed to avoid defeat by drawing Australia was back in 1999, and they last outright beat Australia in 1995. Pakistan came close in their tour down under this past winter in the infamous Sydney Test, but the collapse from that position has been well documented.
So why am I hyping up this latest Test where Pakistan needs 440 runs to win in the second innings? After all, this is the same side that got bowled out for a measly 148in the first innings. The reason is simple, umeed pay dunya kaim hai (the world is running on hope). This losing streak has to come to end sometime, why not now? At the close of the third days play Pakistan were 114/1. Our best batsmen of late Salman Butt is at the crease unbeaten on 58 and getting good support from one of the debutants, Azhar Ali. 440 might seem like a daunting number, but that’s not the way to look at it. There are 6 sessions left so time is not an issue, Pakistan have 9 wickets in hand and need 326 runs to win. The conditions have much improved for batting, the green tinge on the Lord’s wicket has faded, the clouds have disappeared and the ball isn’t moving as much. The new Australian spinner Steve Smith shouldn’t cause much trouble, he has good control but the Pakistani batsmen have always been good players of spin and Danish Kaneria should have given them much practice in the nets. The meat of the batting order is yet to come: the Akmal brother and captain fantastic.
Before you dismiss my eternal optimism and go watch movies at Cinepax instead of this test match, take a moment to soak in the situation. Pakistan has a shot, albeit it a long shot, of beating Australia at the home of cricket, Lord’s. Sorry Mom, I’m going to pass on family stuff this weekend, I will be rooted to the couch!