Good morning and welcome to live coverage of Australia vs Pakistan from Bangalore, the first 2023 World Cup match from Karnataka where England will play Sri Lanka next Thursday. It’s been a contrasting week for the two sides. The wheels came off for Pakistan in their heavy defeat by India last Saturday. Their stellar batting, after a promising start, collapsed like a concertina and their bowling with Shadab Khan dismally out of form and Shaheen Shah Afridi having nowhere to hide when the ball stops swinging was taken apart by India’s heavy hitters.
They are still in the top four after by virtue of their resounding victories over Netherlands and Sri Lanka but they do not, at this stage, seem to have the firepower in the absence of Naseem Shah, to do much damage on featherbed pitches such as the one here at the Chinnaswamy unless the ball swings, One can’t help feeling hat the switch to two balls in 50-over cricket has killed the are of reverse swing and without a degraded ball, Pakistan’s brilliance has been neutered.
Australia are buoyant by comparison after demolishing Sri Lanka following marmalisations at the hands of India and South Africa. Mitchell Marsh made a score, Adam Zampa, who had seemed to be rivalling Mrs Miggins for pie production, suddenly clicked, liberated from the pain of lumbago, and began to look more like his old self. Pay Cummins, after a shonky start with the ball on the back of tonkings at the hands of India and South Africa, was much better in his second spell but the balance of the attack, in fact the entire XI, still seems wrong.
They appear to be waiting for Travis Head’s imminent return to sort everything but he has not batted for ages and I’m sure picking Cameron Green and asking him to bat in the top four instead of either Steve Smith or Marnus Labuschagne would equip them with a more dynamic option higher up until he comes back. I wouldn’t mind them shoving Marcus Stoinis up either but I fear they are leaving Glenn Maxwell with far much to do to accelerate with their Test Nos 3 and 4 at 4 and 3 in this line-up. Victory today would take them above England and the mutual schadenfreude orgy will kick off again before tomorrow’s match between the defending champions and South Africa.