Aussie captain Pat Cummins is under fire for tactics that have left commentators upset as Australia appeared to show no interest in winning.
Australia has left Pakistan with a mountain to climb after a second day of batting dominance in Karachi.
Despite further grinding Pakistan into the dusty wicket, Cummins is the one under fire for failing to move the match along with a draw looking more likely with each delivery.
Even when Alex Carey was knocked over with three overs left on the second day of play, Cummins elected to come out and face the music rather than declare Australia’s innings.
The tourists will resume at 8/505 on Monday, having forced Pakistan’s bowlers to churn through 180 overs. It is the first time Australia has beaten fore more than 1000 balls in a first innings since Australia’s last tour of Pakistan in 1998.
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There was very little for the home side to be excited about – other than the “dream” delivery from Sajid Khan that knocked over Usman Khawaja when the opening batsman was on 160.
Carey was the next best of the Aussie batters, reaching 93 before he was bowled by part-timer Babar Azam with three wickets left in the day’s play.
Khawaja also had plenty of help — but there was no helping the spectacle of the contest which has continued to descend further into farce.
The First Test in Rawalpindi was also a waste of time after a poorly prepared pitch results in a draw with just 14 wickets falling in five days of cricket.
It is repeating again in Karachi.
While Pakistan captain Azam came under fire for his team’s “negative” tactics on the opening day of the Second Test, attention turned towards Cummins and his role in the dour test.
The new captain has been criticized for failing to chase a result.
The troubling sight for the Aussie bowlers will be the ease at which the Aussie batsmen settled into their innings’ and negotiated Pakistan’s lifeless pitch.
Monday will be Cummins’ turn to endure the torture of fielding out in Karachi while staring down the barrel of a potential two days out in the sun.
Australia will only have itself to blame if the contest continues to fizzle down into nothing.
The strategy appears clear from the Aussie dressing room, which will be hoping to beat only once and then bowl to Pakistan when the pitch is deteriorating in the final days of the test.
While the logic is understandable, commentators still didn’t like it.
The Aussie team was particularly criticized for the slow second session of the day where the run rate hovered around two runs per over.
While Carey (93 from 159) stayed active, the rest of the Aussie middle order showed no interest in even looking for quick runs.
Mitchell Starc (28 not out from 95 balls) and Cameron Green (28 from 73) were the worst offenders at a time when cricket experts were openly questioning why Cummins hadn’t pulled the trigger.
With many expecting a late declaration, Cummins is instead marching to the beat of his own drum.
“I don’t understand what the Australians are thinking here, because their run rate is still under three an over. If they want to win this game they’ll need to get a move on,” Pakistan great Waqar Younis said.
Aussie test great Simon Katich said: “I’m honestly surprised. I honestly thought they would come out here and try to move the game forward”.
Prominent cricket analyst Rick Eyre posted on Twitter: “Baffling tactics from Pat Cummins”.
He went on to suggest Cummins was operating out of character with his tactics.
“We’re used to attacking, enterprising captaincy from the Australians and Pat Cummins hasn’t shown that today,” Eyre posted on Twitter.
“He must be supremely confident that the pitch will help his spinners over the last two days.’
Sports reporter Russell Bennett also wrote on Twitter: “It doesn’t make sense. This is wasted time”.
The criticism of Cummins comes after Azam was accused of “ridiculous” and negative tactics on the opening day of the test when Pakistan’s spinners began bowling with keeper Mohammad Rizwan standing almost a full meter wide of the stumps on the leg side.
Cricket commentators were scathing of the tactic which saw Pakistan’s spinners bowling around the wicket and down the leg side of Khawaja and Smith. It was a clear tactic to slow the run rate down – but it also surrendered any home the home side had of breaking the partnership.
Aussie cricket great Michael Kasprowicz said: “It’s like they’re trying to bore these batsmen out. It’s like they are trying to get them out that way.”
Pakistan legend Waqar Younis was much more harsh as he led an avalanche of criticism towards Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam.
“The tactics I’m seeing at the moment, it’s like we are looking for a draw on the 1st day. It’s ridiculous,” he said.
The cricketing world just wants one of the captains to stand up and put an end to it when play resumes on Monday.
Originally published as ‘Baffling’: This is not the Pat Cummins we know