Here's hoping that writing this post will go some way in breathing new life into this comatose blog, even in the absence of John, and hopefully with the all other contributors once again contributing their thoughts.
I woke up early this morning (which, given the cold in Delhi was a lot more difficult than it sounds!) to watch Pakistan yet again take on Australia - this time in a format where they actually have a chance to beat Australia.
As I write this piece, the game is interestingly poised, though Pakistan has somehow managed to start the slide that I have been waiting for since early this morning. Despite the early fireworks from Kamran Akmal and then Salman Butt, and lots of energy and intent from Umar Akmal (how good is he???), Younis Khan has single handedly managed to anchor this innings - and I mean that literally and not in a good way.
I am all for comebacks and I do think Younis is an extremely good bat (especially against India) who deserves his place in the side, but should Pakistan lose this game, he must be held singularly responsible for protecting his wicket rather than getting on with it. So far, he has cost Salman Butt, Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik their wickets and unless Afridi has one of 'those days', he has put Pakistan in a position where getting 270 will be an achievment rather than the certainty it was 20 overs go.
That said, Pakistan probably possesses the bowling firepower to defend 270 on this pitch, especially with Boom Boom and his ten overs of mesmerizing leg spin waiting in the wings. Add to this the pace of Aamer, the seam of Asif, the off spin of Ajmal and perhaps Malik, and you have the most well balanced bowling line up playing in Australia today.
My prediction - a nail biting Pakistan win (provided they can hold their catches), with Afridi claiming three.