About the Match
Rain curtailed a large part of the Boxing Day action between Australia and Pakistan, which saw some gritty old fashioned test match cricket where the bowlers keep steady lines and had to work hard for their wickets while the batsmen put away risky shots and ground out their runs.
Pakistan lost four wickets in the 50.3 overs that were possible on the first day and would go into the second day a little disappointed that they were unable to convert the stubborn resistance of their batsmen into something bigger.
Day 2 Preview
One thing that was clear on Day 1 was that the physical toll of bowling all those overs in Brisbane took a tool on the Australian fast bowlers. Both Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood were down on their pace and were decidedly less incisive than in the first test.
It was the less fancied Jackson Bird that showed good skill with the ball and picked up the big wickets. His rhythm was impeccable and we are confident in backing him as the lead wicket taker for the innings.
Nathan Lyon also managed to get some good turn and bounce from the wicket and there were indications that the role of the spinner would increase as the match went on. This would give Yasir Shah a very large part to play whenever Australia get to bat.
The surface at the MCG is slower and lower than the one at Brisbane so even though there was some seam movement on offer early on, the batsmen had time to adjust. With their two best batsmen at the crease right now in Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, Pakistan can still hope to make a decent first innings total tomorrow.
We think that a bet on Pakistan to double their score and cross 300 is a safe one.
Azhar Ali is continuing his impressive showing on the Australian tour and proving to be a tough obstacle for the Aussies. He is batting on 66 right now and could go on to score a big one if he gets the support from the remaining batsmen.
Australia will know that only Sarfaraz Ahmed remains after these two on the crease and if they get a couple of wickets early, they could still bundle Pakistan out for a score of 220.
The Aussie batsmen would want to get in on this pitch and score a big first innings total because the run scoring might be difficult in their second stint. There was no hint of reverse swing in the overs possible on day 1 but the general expectation is that the ball will start to reverse later in the test match.
This will make the Pakistani fast bowlers very dangerous. Pakistan will need to catch well and hope that their batsmen score enough runs to be able to exert some pressure on the Aussies to give them a shot in this match. The Australians though have a very strong batting lineup and could run away with the match of a couple of them get going.
It’s evenly placed right now but an Australian victory seems most likely at this early juncture