by Kobe Jacobs, ACS Literary Scholar
As another Australian Test summer reaches its second act, with the short Test series against the West Indies, it’s difficult not to commend the Aussie Test team for playing with such style and class. Throughout this three-match series against Pakistan, on multiple occasions were the hosts tested and yet would still come out the other side unscathed. At times, Pat Cummins’ men were simply ruthless, shattering any optimism the visitors would have when in a commanding position. Although chasing a large total in the first innings of the first Test, Pakistan were 3-181 and looked as though they were comfortable in potentially stretching the first Test to five days. Though in an instant, there was Mitch Marsh who swooped in to remove Azam whose outside edge found its way into Alex Carey’s gloves. Crucial moments like these were very much part of the reason why the series finished as a 3-0 sweep to the Australians.
It’s tough to come to Australia as a touring team and get a winning result, however it certainly doesn’t help when you aren’t clinical in the most important times. Pakistan can only blame themselves for their poor fielding, which may just have been the reason why they didn’t come away with the win in the second Test in Melbourne. During Australia’s second innings, the visitors had the home side on the ropes, with the score at 4-42. As Steve Smith and Mitch Marsh looked to consolidate, it was the Western Australian who snicked to first slip only to be put down by Abdullah Shafique. Had the catch been taken, Pakistan would have soared into the box seat and potentially might have levelled the series at 1-1 heading into the New Year’s Test in Sydney. As mentally taxing as Test cricket can be at times, Shan Masood and the rest of his men must’ve all shared the same frustration when reflecting on this recent Australian tour.
Although defeated in all three games, throughout each there were times when Pakistan were slightly on top of the Australians, however, couldn’t capitalise. Yes at times the visitors did not help themselves in not being clinical throughout each Test match, but you have to give credit to the way the Australians played in this series. As Aussie cricket fans, we have to appreciate this current playing group, who are still performing to a high level each time they step onto the field to represent their country. And as the attention now turns to the two-match Test series against the West Indies, all there is to do is pray for the men in maroon, who will no doubt have their work cut out for them.
Australian Cricket Society’s literary scholar Kobe Jacobs is mentored by writer John Harms. His pieces are also published at www.footyalmanac.com.au .