We had a delayed start of second test between Pakistan and New Zealand in 2009 series due to wet out field specially near bowling run up. News is New Zealand has won the toss and decided to bowl.
Team news are not surprising from New Zealand side they have a forced change as their spear head Shane Bond is injured and is replaced by Tuffey nothing else even they might have got Southee in but they kept Elliot in to strengthen or deepen their batting.
In Pakistani line up there are some changes and surprises too. Misbah-ul-Haq is in as expected as he was sent to New Zealand on Captain Yousuf request after Younis opted to stay away from the series, so it is the time for him to keep promise and deliver as well as revive his career as it might be a last season or chance for him. Misbah got it in him, he just need to apply it which Pakistan needs a lot specially in this test when they are 1 down in series and playing at a cracker of a pitch with that inexperienced batting line up.
Then Salman Butt is in for Khurram Manzoor as he didn’t impressed much in first test. Khurram also doesn’t posses enough good technique to play as an opener in such conditions. But Imran Farhat is still in after a disastrous performance in first test, failing as opener and also as a slip fielder dropping three crucial catches which might have the reason to loss with others. But I think he has been given a chance so he will be under some pressure to prove worth it. Hey and also Misbah’s safe hands are back in slips which might also release him a bit from that duty.
Danish Kaneria is in for Saeed Ajmal, well this is interesting as there was no apparent need for that. Saeed Ajmal bowled well in first test but as conditions were not favoring spinners but he still kept things tight to maintain pressure. This might be another revolving policy of spinners which I think is unnecessary. But it might also be to get some wickets by Kaneria but he is also little expensive at same time. So it will be interesting to compare his performance with Ajmal’s in almost same conditions or even faster bowler friendly at Basen Reserve.
Another important development and talking point this morning is he number 3rd position in Pakistani line up which looks like is given to Umar Akmal. Commentators has already started a small debate on it. I think this is like asking too much from your youngest in form almost match saving or match winning batsman in a such over cast conditions while you are also batting first. Specially when you have options, I mean what is Malik doing so down the order, isn’t he ready to put his hands up and face the music then he should have been given some rest to get ready. Really this is his role, Misbah is back in middle order and that is his specialized position, Malik is used to play at top order. But I think he is just playing for his place in team and get some from and runs while the ball is little old and is not doing that much. On second thought Misbah could be sent at number three but that will kill the reason why he is in the side to strengthen middle order. Even Umar could hold middle order with Kamran and Malik but that will again like asking too much from a kid playing his second test. So this will be tester for Umar Akmal to live up to expectations in such situation at number three. Interesting all over.
Match in under way and there is some movement of the pitch that Vettori was expecting and the ball has beaten the edge some times in first 5 overs but Pakistani openers survived. So game ON guys have fun! and don’t forget your input.
[UPDATE] Sorry I forgot about Fawad Alam as he is out of second test giving way to Misbah-ul-Haq. Fawad is a strange guy, he is in the scenes for quite some time now, he has been in the squad for many tours but haven’t got enough chances regularly to play. He showed a lot of promise at limited occasions but not enough to recon him as a great future. There is always a lot of praise for him in local circuits for his all round nature as batsman, fielder and bowler. Lot of people saying lot of things about him specially after his debut test hundred against Sri Lanka back in July 2009. But he hasn’t performed consistently whenever given a chance and he is mostly used for his batting that also at different positions in his short career. His batting technique is also under microscope as he has that very unique stance well outside leg stump and then he shuffles in towards his off stump right before the delivery is bowled largely compared with Chanderpaul’s technique but it is a risky one as he very vulnerable to balls on his pads and drifting down the leg side. I personally think he is the guy who has cricketing thing in him so he must be given a proper little long chance to settle in mentally as well.