Australia's man of the moment - Pakistan Today

Australia’s man of the moment

The Ashes series under way has so far provided a fascinating see-saw battle between the over-a-century old cricketing rivals. It was difficult to predict the final outcome before the series. It has become even harder to name the winner midway through the Test matches.
The obvious and much cited reason is that Australia’s replacement players have proved unable to fill the shoes of their illustrious predecessors. Their performances lack consistency and are more often than not much below the precise, clockwork demolition jobs of the past.
And this decline applies not only to the batting and bowling, but to their fielding. The sub-continental cricket diseases, abject collapses and sloppy fielding are infectious and barring a few exceptions, the Aussies have apparently caught the butterfingers bug.
England on the other hand, surprised the critics with their accurate bowling attack, but their batting wilted in the third Test in the face of a relentless Aussie riposte to level the series and keep their hopes of retaining the Ashes alive. The cynics claim that if Pakistan had collapsed in this manner after a big win, it would have warranted an official ICC inquiry for match-fixing!
Hussey heroics: Although there have been outstanding individual heroics on both sides, one man stands out for sheer display of skill and temperament, of ‘grace under pressure’ Michael Hussey has so far scored six consecutive half-centuries (including two centuries) and must be considered a prime candidate for the ‘man of the series awards’ if he reproduces even half of his current form.
From the outset, he kept the spirit of defiance alive in a in a demoralized team and his century in the third Test kept his side in reckoning. His catches at point/gully were unbelievable and seemingly defied the laws of gravity! Hussey alone among the Old Guard displayed the prized Australian qualities of grittiness and quality performances under adverse circumstances. So, despite the heroics of Alaister Cook, Peter Siddle, Kevin Pieterson, Andrew Strauss and Mitchell Johnson, Hussey remains the man of the moment.
How one wishes Pakistan cricket possessed one or two players of the same never-say-die spirit. Unfortunately, barring our top-notch umpires of the ICC elite panel, Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf, we have little to offer to the cricketing fraternity nowadays except an unending stream of scandal.
Evenly-poised: The Ashes are evenly poised before the fourth Test starting at Melbourne on Sunday but England does have a significant head start as it currently holds the Ashes and needs only a draw in the remaining two Tests to retain them. Surely the Poms cannot lose three in a row – unless they have caught that bug too!
But if Australia manages to pull it off, it would be a phoenix-like rise from the ashes, and Captain Ricky Ponting’s sigh of relief at averting a hat-trick of series losses would be audible around the cricketing world.



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