While England’s hell-for-leather batting approach of the first Test was again seen in the second, it was often tempered by either (a) conditions or (b) getting out. What we can conclude from this is that pitches matter. So what can we expect from the National Stadium in Karachi for the third and final Test on Saturday?
Last time around, we ceded the floor to soil enthusiast, film director and Limp Bizkit frontman, Fred Durst for our pitch preview. We don’t want to imply any kind of falling out with Fred – or “Dursto” as we tend to call him – resulting from his wide-of-the-mark predictions on that occasion. We just thought he’d benefit from a game off and focusing on his turf management studies with exams looming.
It’s also good to get different voices and different perspectives. With that in mind, we asked Ancient Greek scientist, Archimedes, to step in and preview the third Test pitch.
Hmm? What? Sorry, I was just watching TikTok. Have you seen these ‘trick shots’ that people do? Mad stuff. Just mad. Like doing a massive golf putt with a hot dog or booting a footie into a basketball hoop off a trampoline. Just crazy. I mean I guess they have, like, a thousand goes and only post the footage of the one time they actually managed it, but there’s still something about it that sucks you in. I can’t get enough of them.
Karachi then. Okay, well, um, I’ve not really seen the pitch because I’ve been dead for well over 2,000 years. But just sort of setting that aside and looking at recent results, I’m going to say it’s all about building partnerships.
Man, have you seen this one? It’s a fella with a bow and he’s firing, like, 20 arrows all at the same time and popping a balloon with every one of them. Okay, maybe not 20 – but it’s a lot. Oh it’s a snooker one now. Reminds me of Big Break. They used to do trick shots on that.
Anyway, er, yeah, partnerships. There’s actually been a few Tests here in Karachi these last couple of years and that’s the thing that stands out to me from them. Pakistan were shot-out for 191 by Sri Lanka in the first Test back here in 2019, but they then put on 555-3 in their second innings. Pitch flattened out, you think – except Pakistan bowled Sri Lanka out for 212 to win the Test.
Then in 2021 when South Africa played here, the first 15 wickets went down for 341 runs before Fawad Ahmed made a hundred. There weren’t many fifties in that Test, but Pakistan’s tail really wagged in that first innings, so it definitely looks like there’s periods that favour the batters.
Sorry, I’m still thinking about Big Break. Do you remember it? With John Virgo and that comedian. Forget his name. Londoner. Bit racist, I think. Basically Bullseye but for snooker. Virgo did the trick shots.
Sorry, sorry, yeah… The most recent Test in Karachi was in March when Australia toured. The Aussies made 556-9 and then bowled Pakistan out for 148. But just look at the individual scores in Pakistan’s second innings when they saved the game: 96, 1, 6, 196, 9, 104 not out, 0, 9 and 0 not out. I mean honestly. A crazy innings with Babar Azam to the fore.
Oh, hey, er, sorry, I was just googling John Virgo. I just couldn’t quite believe it was his real name. Looks like it is – at least as far as I can tell. But guess what I’ve just found out? He guested on another of these shows: Full Swing. I mean you can guess what Full Swing is, can’t you? It was the whole Bullseye, Big Break thing, but for golf. Jimmy Tarbuck presented it. Only ran for one series.
Why don’t they do a cricket one of these shows? Get Tuffers on, or Swanny, or Jason Gallian. Do a few trick shots. Swing it round a wheelie bin and into a pint pot; lofted drive that lands down someone’s chimney – that kind of thing.
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