Australia take on Pakistan in first neutral Test in England for 98 years
Philanthropy towards Pakistan is not a gesture you would normally expect from cricket’s international community but that is how the first neutral Test in England for 98 years is being promoted by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Derek Pringle, Telegraph, UK July 12, 2010
Naturally, Australia, their opponents, see it differently, but it is difficult to reprogramme a team for whom Lord’s motivates on the most primal level.
“Our preparation has been similar to an Ashes Test so the feeling has not been a lot different this time,” Ricky Ponting, Australia’s captain, said. “We haven’t worried too much about the opposition but Lord’s is a great place to play and there’s a lot of excitement around the team.”
If Ponting sounds a mite blasé about his opponents he has every right to after Australia won every game against Pakistan last winter. In fact, the Australians have won their last 12 Tests against them, so another victory here would give them a world record number of wins against another team (Sri Lanka also have 12 in a row against Bangladesh).
Logic, especially one that pits a well-drilled team against one beset by problems, not least the worsening security situation at home, suggests a one-sided contest with Ponting’s team, bolstered by the return of pace bowlers Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus, coming out on top. Yet, Pakistan’s reputation for producing brilliance from adversity is legend.
Their bowling, which includes Danish Kaneria, the world’s pre-eminent leg-spinner, is their prime strength. The pace attack of Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer is nicely varied, with Aamer, 18, said to be better than Wasim Akram at the same age.
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