So I was halfway through writing a post about how we can look forward to watching Pakistan with a comparatively stable batting line-up and an even more dangerous bowling attack in South Africa, and then the first test happened. That brimming-with-optimism, half-finished article is now lying in my recycle bin and has instead been replaced with this annoyance-filled overview of the first of three tests against South Africa that will hopefully allow me to get over at least some of my frustration.
Day 1 ended with all us Pakistanis thinking we’re on top of the world because our bowlers managed to do the unthinkable by restricting South Africa to a mediocre total and dreaming about starting the year with another test whitewash. However, we all seemed to have forgotten one minute detail about our team: our extreme unpredictability. On Day 2, our team surprised us with the worst batting performance any of us had ever seen. A day ago we were boasting about South Africa having just managed 253, and now we were bowled out for 49. Okay I know that South Africa is the Number 1 test team for a reason and that Steyn is unplayable and all that, but 49? I mean, seriously? We couldn’t manage to make one-fifth of our opponent’s score? Is that really how pathetic our batting had become? Thank GOD South Africa decided not to enforce the follow-on, or else considering the day we were having, I’m pretty sure this match would have gone on to break the record for the shortest test in the world. Then to add insult to injury, South Africa came on and mocked our batting performance by showing us how run-scoring is actually done, and they were doing it so easily I wanted to cry.
Day 3, South Africa declared after adding another 275 to the already mammoth total, providing us 2.5 days to chase down a target of 480. In any other case, this would have been suicide considering 480 is a very chase-able total in two and a half days. But this was Pakistan, and the whole world is aware that our batsmen couldn’t possibly survive that long, when they can hardly ever prevent themselves from getting bowled out in a 50-over ODI. All we could do was desperately pray for the forecast rain to come down and save us from that embarrassing defeat. But of course, that didn’t happen. We easily lost the match on the fourth day. The only good thing was that we at least put up a fight in our second innings, showing some promise of a better performance in the matches to come.
Looking at the South African team (the most perfect team I have ever seen) and their pitches, I’d say even managing a 1-0 test series loss from this point would be a HUGE achievement for us, because a draw against a team like theirs would be no easy task. I really, really hope to see Irfan playing in the next test instead of Rahat Ali, since he’s clearly the better fast bowler of the two. I don’t know why they didn’t select him for the first test itself. Also, I miss Adnan Akmal and if I ever see Sarfaraz Ahmed selected over him again, I will personally go to the selectors and give them a piece of my mind. Or I’ll dream about doing that anyway. And one last thing, GET YOUR STUPID HOT SPOT TECHNOLOGY FIXED YOU MORONS!
Until the next test then, folks!