In the end it took about an hour short of four days for Australia to wrap up the series. Not quite as close as the equivalent Test on the SCG 32 years earlier which set alight my interest in the game.
I was out at the SCG on Day Four as a guest of the Cricket New South Wales Ford Volunteer Program. Not quite the crowd of earlier days of the Test, about 14000, and the Bradman and O”Reilly Stands remained closed all day. A pretty warm day in Sydney, but I had a good vantage point in the shade beneath the large scoreboard (and without its distraction).
Some of my observations of the day? Pakistan, as we know, have chronic problems with on-field coherence. Asim Kamal was impressive for his 87. Shahid Afridi played a very streaky innings. It was one of those knocks where he could have made a duck or a 100. In the end he was run out for 46.
Shane Watson as a bowler runs up like a non-hostile Merv Hughes. Steve Waugh started off as a fast-medium all-rounder and turned into one of this country’s greatest specialist batsman. I don’t predict the same future for Watto. Michael Clarke, alas, was off the field all day with a foot injury, and it would have been good to see him trundle down for a few overs of left-arm orthodox. But Warne and MacGill did the trick.
Pakistan’s opening bowlers, defending 62, were crap. Both Naved ul-Hassan and Mohammad Asif bowled too fast and too short, and Hayden and Langer dealt with them accordingly. Langer did the customary Australian opener trick of getting out (bowled by Kaneria) with 4 runs to go. Ponting won the match next ball – I have some low-quality video of both deliveries, as I do of a Jason Gillespie calisthenics session on the fine-leg fence in front of where I was sitting.
I’ll continue to harp on about the 10am early start to play on a day when the sun sets in Sydney at 8.10pm.