With the Big Bash coinciding with the current, excellent Test series between Australia and Pakistan, we get the very best of both forms of cricket.
Big Bash, with the benefit of intense and smart marketing, is very good at telling us what’s good about it: non-stop action, a deluge of sixes, unexpected stars. Fantastic stuff.
But this current Test series is a real showcase for everything good about Test match cricket. It might not be packed with superstars, but in many ways, it’s been a triumph of Test technique. The first Test was gripping and dramatic. In this Boxing Day Test, the both teams have played winning cricket.
At the time of writing, there’s only been one innings – Pakistan’s – but the batsmen have played straight against the swinging ball, Azhar has demonstrated a perfect balance of patience and adventurousness, and Jackson Bird and Josh Hazlewood have proved that there’s no substitute for making a batsman play, especially when the ball is new.
Considering his follow-through issues on this strip, Starc has still managed to attain good speed. When presented the opportunity, Australia has caught everything on offer.
Ausrtalia has the clout, Pakistan has the fight. Both teams have a good bowling ordnance.
A lot will depend now on Australia’s first innings, and I think Pakistan might feel they have a chance to skittle them cheaply. Declarations will, or should, play a part in this match.
Melbourne’s capricious conditions permitting, this Test will climax in a thrilling result, even if it’s a draw.