Cricket Australia News

Oct 292014
 

Skipper says aggression is needed in conditions

Michael Clarke has vowed to maintain his aggressive approach to captaincy despite calls from a past great to curb his natural instincts and play tactically defensive cricket on slow, low pitches in the UAE.

Adam Gilchrist said the Australians needed to make an adjustment because playing fast-paced attacking cricket wasn’t always the best option in foreign conditions.

“Culturally, as a cricketing nation, we find it hard to make that adjustment, particularly initially,” Gilchrist said.

“We are a fast-paced cricket team and have been for decades. Attack is our best form of defence, but there are times when you have to realise the need to shut down. It is not our normal instinct to do that.”

Quick Single: Aussies need to curb aggression: Gilchrist

acg

Clarke and Gilchrist conquered India together in 2004 with a mixture of aggression and patience 

Australia’s skipper said he would “go the other way” and believed a wicket that wasn’t offering much required a more aggressive approach.

“When the wicket’s like what it was the other day and this wicket here, you’ve got to go the other way,” said Clarke.

“You’ve got to be more aggressive at times, especially with your field placements because there’s not much in the wicket.

“It varies on conditions around the world, opposition teams you’re playing, the batters you’re playing and the attack I’m given as well.”

Australia claimed 14 wickets in the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai on a wicket that played slow and low, and a couple of dropped catches left Clarke keen for an improved effort in the field.

Clarke regularly employed two mid-wickets and a very straight mid-on, positions utilised to maximise opportunities from batsmen being deceived by the pace, and the skipper said he would always be focussed on taking wickets.

“For me it doesn’t feel aggressive, it’s about trying to win the game,” said Clarke.

“I’m trying to bowl somebody who I think can take a wicket. I’m trying to put fielders in positions where I think they’re going to hit the ball.

“Take 20 wickets is my goal. If that’s aggressive then that’s aggressive.

“I’m not really bothered about what it looks like. I’m bothered about not winning.”

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The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 29 October, 2014 6:30PM AEST

Tags: Tour of UAE v Pakistan , Pakistan vs Australia , Michael Clarke , Australia , Pakistan , cricketaustralia

Click for detailed story

Oct 262014
 
Pakistan Australia first Test day five Dubai

Australia survive the first hour before losing three quick wickets on the final day of the first Test against Pakistan

Live scorecard: Pakistan v Australia, first Test

Australia go into the final day of the first Test against Pakistan needing to score a world-record 438 to win the match.

Having reached 0-44 late on Saturday, Australia lost 4-5 in 23 balls to Pakistan’s spinners and will resume on Sunday’s fifth and final day on 4-59.

Speaking before play, opener Chris Rogers said the slow nature of the Dubai pitch was a challenge that modern Australian batsmen didn’t encounter much in their home conditions.

But the left-hander didn’t offer any excuses, saying the Aussies had to “find a way and fight through”.

“We don’t get those wickets anymore (in Australia),” Rogers said.

“I remember playing (former Test leg-spinner Stuart) MacGill in Sydney when I first started (my career) and that was a challenge.

“We don’t have them anymore which is a bit of a shame. But that’s the way it’s gone.

“And we have to adapt. We had a couple of weeks here practicing before the first Test and it is different and it is very difficult.

“But we’ve played a lot of cricket now and we have to learn and learn quickly.”

Rogers also echoed the sentiments of skipper Michael Clarke, who told reporters last night that there was still fight in his side.

“Without a doubt,” Rogers said when asked if the Australians believed they could avoid defeat.

“You have to believe anything can happen. But its going to take some great efforts from a few people.”

Test

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 27 October, 2014 12:30AM AEST

Oct 252014
 
Nathan Lyon unveils new mystery ball

Spinner’s delivery creates talking point

Is Nathan Lyon’s new mystery ball no longer a mystery?

Amid Pakistan’s batsmen taking to Australia’s bowlers in Dubai on Saturday, Lyon provided a talking point with a delivery that had no place amongst his normal repertoire of traditional off-spin deliveries.

Lyon, who finished with 2-220 from 53 overs for the match, gave what could be the first public viewing of his new delivery which he has been working on for some time.

The Australian spinner’s first mystery ball, light-heartedly nicknamed Jeff, has rarely been seen since he used it to dismiss South Africa’s Jacques Rudolph in Brisbane in 2012.

Instead, Lyon has relied on the classical off-spinner’s method of flight, bounce and regulation spin to pick up his 114 Test wickets.

In May, he revealed he was working on “Jeff’s twin brother”, but declined to reveal too much more about the new variation before working on it with spin bowling legend Muttiah Muralidaran on a trip to Sri Lanka in June.

He later explained the delivery was a form of “back-spinner” and during Australia’s tour match against Pakistan A last week, he hinted that a reveal was imminent and also suggested there would be more new deliveries to come.

“That’s another surprise you will just have to wait and see next week,” he said.

“We have been working with few different things so it’s not just a couple of balls, there is more than two.

“Both SOK (Stephen O’Keefe) and I have been working with Murali on few different things and few tricks.

“We have to just put them out there in the play and see how we go.”

Bowling to Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed in the final session on Saturday, Lyon bowled a ball that grabbed the attention of commentator and former Test batsman Dean Jones.

But was it the long-awaited arrival of Jeff’s twin, or is it another variation?

Test

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 26 October, 2014 2:33PM AEST

Oct 252014
 
statistics day four pakistan australia first test

All the numbers that matter from day four

Statistical highlights from day four of the first Test between Australia and Pakistan at Dubai

Day one stats wrap: Mitch, maidens and Misbah

Day two stats wrap: Blazing bats and expensive spinners

Day three stats wrap: No nervous nineties for Warner

154 – Number of innings it has taken for David Warner to be dismissed stumped across all forms international cricket. Stumping is a rare dismissal in Test cricket, particularly for openers. In the last decade only three opening batsmen from Australia have been out in this fashion, Warner off Zulfiqar Babar, Ed Cowan off Ravi Ashwin at Chennai in 2013 and Phil Jacques twice – off Anil Kumble at the MCG and Muttiah Muralitharan at GABBA in 2007. Warner’s wont of not getting out stumped was discussed during the one-off T20I in Dubai as well.

6 – Number of innings since David Warner failed to score a fifty. Had he scored one more he would have equaled the world record of having seven consecutive fifty-plus scores, currently held by Everton Weeks, Andy Flower, Kumar Sangakkara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

14 – Number of times Pakistan have declared innings against Australia. Pakistan declared two wickets down on day four and it was the first time they had ever declared against Australia having more than 5 wickets in hand. The last team to do it against the Aussies was England, declaring at 517-1 in Brisbane in 2010.

1705 – Number of runs Chris Rogers has scored in first-class cricket in 2014. That total is the second most by any batsman behind Kumar Sangakkara (1732). Rogers had an excellent season with Middlesex in the county championship, where he amassed 1333 runs at average 55.54.

Runs

Australia who are chasing 438 in Dubai can draw a glimmer of hope from the fact that just a few months ago Chris Rogers scored unbeaten 241 in a successful run chase of 472 for Middlesex against Yorkshire.

26 – Number of centuries Younis Khan has scored in Test cricket – the most by any Pakistan batsman and the sixth most by anyone from Asia. Only Mahela Jayawardene (34), Sunil Gavaskar (34), Rahul Dravid (36), Kumar Sangakkara (37) and Sachin Tendulkar (51) have more hundreds than him in red-ball cricket.

7 – Number of Pakistan batsmen who have scored 100 in each innings of a Test match. Younis Khan became the seventh behind Hanif Mohammad, Javed Miandad, Wajahtullah Wasti, Yasir Hameed, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf. Of these seven, Younis, at 36 years and 330 days, is the oldest. He is also first to achieve this feat outside of Pakistan. Hanif Mohammad scored 100 in each innings in Dhaka but Bangladesh at that time was part of Pakistan.

8 – Number of batsmen who have scored twin centuries against Australia. Younis Khan is the first in the last 40 years, with New Zealand’s Glenn Turner (101 and 110*) last acheiving the feat in Christchurch in 1974. The others are: Rohan Kanhai, Clyde Walcott (twice), Vijay Hazare, Denis Compton, Wally Hammond and Herbert Sutcliff.

4 – Number of centuries Pakistan batsmen Younis Khan (two), Sarfraz Ahmad (one) and Ahmad Shahzad (one) scored in the Test. Only twice before had a team hit four hundreds in the same match against Australia – New Zealand (Lou Vincent, Stephen Fleming, Nathan Astle, Adam Parore) at the WACA in 2001 and England (Charlie Barnett, Len Hutton, Eddier Paynter, Denis Compton) at Trent Bridge in 1938.

Four is also the number of sixes Ahmad Shahzad hit during his century. No other opening batsman from Pakistan had hit this many in an innings before. The previous record was three maximums by Saeed Anwar, Shahid Afridi (twice) and Imran Nazir.

3 – Number of innings Michael Clarke has now batted without reaching double digits. Clarke’s last three scores in Tests are three, two and zero. It is only the second time in his 182-innings long career that he has failed to score at least 10 in three consecutive innings. The previous instance was between October and December 2010 when he had three innings of three, nine and two against India and England.

34.42 – The batting average of Michael Clarke against Pakistan in Tests. That aggregate is his worst against any team he has played at least three matches against. Clarke has only 482 runs against the green caps in nine Tests with a highest score of 166, which came in a dead rubber at Hobart in 2010. The only other team  he averages less than 40 against is West Indies (39.26).

 

Test

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 26 October, 2014 12:25PM AEST

Oct 252014
 
Australia v Pakistan first Test day four Dubai

Australia will need a last-day miracle if they are to avoid defeat in the first Test after a dramatic collapse on day four

Scorecard: Pakistan v Australia

Earlier: Haddin denies spin weakness

History-maker: Younis scores twin centuries

Australia are facing the unpalatable prospect of a chastening defeat in the first Test against Pakistan after the old nemesis of spin bowling reared its head on a remarkable fourth afternoon.

Australia have six wickets in hand and a final day to face on a pitch that Pakistan’s spinners have made to look far more threatening and dangerous than their Australian counterparts have managed.

Nominally, Australia require another 379 runs for a victory that, were it to be achieved, would not only set a new world record but go down in history as the most unlikely of sporting triumphs.

David Warner and Chris Rogers set off in hot pursuit of the 438-run target with gusto as Pakistan declared following Younis Khan’s second century of the match. Sixteen runs came from the first two overs – two boundaries cracked by Warner started the innings.

The pair put on 44 in the first 13 overs. While Rogers was doing everything in his power to keep his wicket intact, Warner was at his belligerent best and had raced to 29 from 26 balls.

Then it all fell apart.

Warner advanced down the pitch to drive again through the covers, but was beaten by the arm ball from Zulfiqar Babar, and Sarfraz Ahmed whipped the bails off in a flash to send Australia’s top batsmen on his way back to the sheds.

With spinners operating at both ends, Alex Doolan came out to bat in a Baggy Green that still looked a fresh, deep green playing in his fourth Test. But he was soon on his way back to the sheds too.

Moving back and playing across the line, he was dead to rights in front, a duck to go with a first-innings return of five.

Suddenly, the Dubai pitch was spitting demons. Pakistan asked for a review for an lbw appeal off Michael Clarke’s second ball, but the skipper survived as the ball-tracking showed umpire’s call for impact with the pad and stumps.

Clarke’s reprieve didn’t last long. Facing up to the leg-spin of debutant Yasir Shah, he played the wrong line and was given out lbw. He consulted with Rogers over a review, hesitated, then walked off.

Quick Single: Clarke admits DRS error

It was symptomatic of Australia’s malaise that television replays showed the skipper had got an inside edge on the ball.

Nightwatchman Nathan Lyon lasted three balls before he too fell lbw.

In 3.1 overs, Australia had lost four wickets for five runs and, with it, most likely the Test match.

Earlier in the session, Younis had become the first man in more than 40 years to score twin centuries against Australia. The last was Black Caps opener Glenn Turner in Christchurch in March 1974.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq declared at 2-286, leaving 23 overs for the Australians to negotiate before stumps.

That Australia could only take two wickets on day four would be a matter of some concern before next week’s second Test in Abu Dhabi, but of more pressing concern would be the imposing target.

History is against Australia, and it would take a new world record to achieve victory. The current best fourth-innings score to win remains the West Indies 7-418 against Australia in 2003.

Australia’s best fourth-innings winning total was the 3-404 against England at Leeds in 1948, when Sir Donald Bradman hit an unbeaten 173 to secure the win.

Earlier, Pakistan tightened their grip on the match after upping their earlier pedestrian run-rate in spectacular fashion – 20 coming from one Peter Siddle over – as they reached 1-231 at tea, a lead of 382.

The mid-afternoon flourish followed Ahmed Shezhad (131) posting his second Test century, while Younis backed up his first-innings ton with another.

No wickets fell in the period between lunch and tea and while Australia’s bowling was for the most part restrictive, it was also largely unthreatening.

Pakistan had added 78 runs in the first session and there was a 21 over gap between boundaries as the hosts seem to have little urgency to build a lead.

All that changed once Shezhad brought up his personal milestone with a straight four off Siddle from the last ball of the 64th over.

The next six overs brought 42 runs.

Having made his ton, Shezhad freed the arms and looked to unleash on Siddle. One boundary was smashed back over the bowler’s head, and the next ball was dispatched a dozen rows back over the mid-wicket fence.

Siddle attempted to follow with a bouncer so short it was called wide. The next delivery was full and straight as Shezhad cleared the front leg and dispatched it into the fast-filling grandstand, this time over long-on.

Mitchell Johnson was not immune from treatment either, although averaging 145kph throughout the match, he was much harder to get away.

Steve O’Keefe had made the solitary breakthrough for Australia in the first session of day four, having Azhar Ali well caught behind by Brad Haddin.

Azhar was promoted to open in place of Mohammad Hafeez, who rolled an ankle late on the third afternoon fielding off his own bowling.

Haddin took the catch in the webbing of his gloves, riding the bounce to take the edge off the batsman’s cut-shot to send Ali on his way for 30.

Australia’s wicketkeeper, who turned 37 on day two of this Test match, had the over before put down a sharp chance off Lyon’s bowling.

Shehzad got forward to a ball, inside-edged onto his pad and the deflection brushed Haddin’s fingertips on its way to the turf.

Shezhad brought up a half-century but also suffered a nasty blow from, you guessed it, a searing Johnson bouncer.

Swung around to the Emirates Road end for the first time in this Test match, Johnson pinned the batsman above the heart with a 147kph lifter.

It was an all too rare moment of discomfort for Pakistan’s batsmen.

RM

Test

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 26 October, 2014 2:10AM AEST

Oct 232014
 
Australia v Pakistan First Test Day Two in Dubai

Opener in the runs again after Sarfraz Ahmed’s century had put Pakistan in a good position in the first Test

Scorecard: Pakistan v Australia, first Test

David Warner has lead Australia’s fightback with a classy half-century to loosen Pakistan’s grip on the first Test in Dubai.

Warner’s run-a-ball 75 and a patient 31 from Chris Rogers, off 110 balls, took Australia’s openers to 113 at stumps on day two, where they trail Pakistan by 341.

Neither fatherhood nor the 230 day break between Australia’s Test matches have diminished Warner’s prowess with the bat and he will be sizing up a third consecutive Test century early on day three.

The New South Wales opener has been on an amazing run of form in away Tests in 2014. From the first Test against South Africa in late February, Warner has scored 12, 115, 70, 66, 135, 145 and the in-progress 75 here.

Since being recalled to Australia’s side for the third Ashes Test in mid-2013, Warner has scored five centuries and six half-centuries in 12 Tests, averaging 60.52.

Comfortable against Pakistan’s pace attack (don’t forget, he regularly faces Mitchell Johnson in Australia’s net sessions), he displayed excellent footwork against the spinners to score around the ground.

WR 

The difference in approach and aggression was evident between Rogers and Warner. While one left-hander was circumspect the other was ambitious, at times bordering on audacious. Nowhere was this more evident than when Warner reverse-swept for a boundary to bring up his fifty.

But the innings was not without misadventure, and Australia will be acutely aware of the challenge that faces them, with drawing level with Pakistan’s first innings the initial target.

Rogers was dropped by Younis Khan at first slip when on 13. Advancing down the wicket for a defensive prod, the ball from left-armer Zulfiqar Babar did not turn and Rogers played down the wrong line, no doubt relieved to see it spill through the catcher’s hands.

Warner followed up the next ball with a reverse sweep he seems increasingly willing to utilise in Test cricket.

Warner was not without his own flirtations with disaster. He survived an excited appeal for lbw from behind the stumps when on 10. Pakistan decided against a review and replays showed it was indeed pad first as he jammed his bat down on a top-spinning delivery.

Hafeez continued to cause problems, and the umpires checked replays of a bat-pad claimed catch off Rogers, which slow-motion footage revealed to be a bump-ball.

Earlier, a whirlwind century from Sarfraz Ahmed sparked Pakistan’s innings to life and pushed them into a formidable position as they closed on 9-454 two balls after tea.

Babar had retired hurt at the interval after being struck on the middle finger of the right hand by a fearsome Mitchell Johnson thunderbolt.

The nasty injury left Zulfiqar trembling as the cut was bandaged. He required a pain-killing injection and was heavily bandaged, but his bowling hand was unaffected.

Steve O’Keefe (2-107) and Nathan Lyon (2-148) picked up late wickets for Australia, capitalising on Pakistan’s intent to accelerate the scoring rate.

Lyon struck with the last ball before tea, having Sarfraz stumped for 109 after some sharp work by Brad Haddin, celebrating his 37th birthday. Two balls after tea Rahat Ali hit straight to Rogers for a duck.

Sarfraz brought up his century off 80 balls, his 14th boundary ramped over the slips cordon. It was an Adam Gilchrist-like innings from the Pakistan wicketkeeper, the acceleration erasing memories of a day one slow occupation from the home side.

Sarfraz has been in sensational form in 2014. His century here against Australia was preceded by scores of 55, 52*, 103 and 55 in two Tests against Sri Lanka in August and before that 7, 74, 5 and 48 against the same opposition in the UAE in January.

The Karachi kid sure knows how to celebrate a milestone. At this same venue in the first one-day international against Australia he ran two-thirds of the way to the boundary to celebrate a half-century.

For his Test century, he ran the same route, pumping his fists in the air before ripping his helmet off and, with great theatre, sinking to his knees, arms aloft in exultation towards the small but vocal fanbase. The celebration was so prolonged umpire Marais Erasmus was moved to hurry him back to the wicket.

The early breakthrough Australia so desperately sought to open day two went begging in the day’s second over when a sharp chance was put down.

Lyon’s first ball of the day hit the perfect length and gripped. Shafiq edged it towards the waiting hands of Alex Doolan at short leg, but it went too fast and the chance was gone.

Michael Clarke predicted the part-time spin of Steve Smith would play a key role in this two-Test series, and so it proved when the man they call Smudge struck in the second day’s 22nd over.

Having hit Smith for six the previous over, Misbah-ul-Haq attempted a repeat but miscued and was caught by Johnson at deep mid-off to depart for 69.

Australia’s two debutants combined to make the breakthrough after lunch; Mitchell Marsh taking the catch off O’Keefe’s bowling.

The New South Wales left-armer got enough turn and bounce to have Asad Shafiq (89) top-edge his sweep, sending a catch high towards midwicket where Marsh judged it well to take it safely.

O’Keefe’s second came when another debutant, Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah (2), miscued an attempted drive and a catch looped to Rogers at backward point.

Shah’s dismissal ended a run of five Pakistan batsmen to score at least a half-century. From No.3 to No.7, they had all made at least 53.

It was sobering to recall that at one stage Australia had Pakistan on the ropes at 2-7.

Test

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 24 October, 2014 12:30AM AEST

Oct 232014
 
brisbane heat sign andrew flintoff

Allrounder to play back-half of #BBL04

Brisbane Heat have today confirmed Andrew ‘Freddie Flintoff will join the club for this summer’s KFC T20 Big Bash League campaign.

Flintoff, a two-time Ashes-winner and former Test captain, will renew ties with ex-Lancashire teammate Stuart Law, now the Brisbane Heat coach, when he arrives in December to prepare for his playing stint.

“I’m excited to be coming back to Australia and especially to Brisbane which has always been a favourite spot of mine to play,” he said.

“Stuart and I have had a few conversations and I’m clear on what we’re looking to achieve in the competition.

“The Heat squad has some exciting talent and I’m looking forward to catching up with Dan Vettori again.”

Flintoff, who made an eye-catching comeback to cricket earlier this year in England’s T20 domestic competition with Lancashire, has come full circle with the Sunshine State, with the 36-year-old having agreed to terms back in 2010 to play for Queensland in the original interstate Big Bash competition before injury intervened.

The signing of the 36-year-old also brings full circle a T20 recruiting move several years in the making, with the star English allrounder agreeing to terms back in 2010 to play for Queensland in the original interstate Big Bash competition before injury intervened.

“I’ve seen from afar how the BBL has evolved so quickly to become a world-class competition and it’s a challenge that I am certainly up for,” Flintoff said.

“I really enjoyed my T20 season with Lancs and having the opportunity to keep playing is something I am very pleased about.

“It’s going to be great heading out to Brisbane and getting into the swing of things for the BBL in December.”

Law said he and Flintoff were on the same page about what awaited them when they came together again for the BBL.

“I’ve told Fred we signed him to win games of cricket, so that means we want him bowling 140kph, hitting sixes and using his experience around the group to get the job done,” he said.

“He’s an enormous competitor and so I know he is coming out for the right reasons.

“The Brisbane fans will quickly discover he’s a champion fella and I’m sure they will love having him with the team.

“He’s a wonderful person and we’re looking forward to having Fred and his family with us at the Heat over the summer.”

Flintoff, who will also work with Network Ten during the BBL, has signed to play the back-half of the season with the Heat including Finals and will be based in Brisbane for the duration of the tournament.

He is the third international player signed by the Heat for BBL|04 alongside Vettori and West Indian leg-spinner Samuel Badree.

BBL teams can have up to four international players on their books but can only have two internationals on their playing roster at any given time.

Brisbane Heat squad: Samuel Badree (Int), Joe Burns, Daniel Christian, Ben Cutting, Ryan Duffield, Andrew Flintoff (Int), Peter Forrest, James Hopes, Mitchell Johnson, Chris Lynn, Alister McDermott, Dan Vettori (Int), Shane Watson, Nathan Reardon, Cameron Gannon, Mark Steketee, Nick Buchanan, James Peirson.

Brisbane Heat tickets for BBL|04 go on sale on Tuesday through Ticketmaster.com.au

2014-15 KFC T20 BIG BASH LEAGUE – Brisbane Heat Matches

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Sydney Thunder

Stadium Australia

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Melbourne Stars

Gabba

Friday, 2 January 2015

Hobart Hurricanes

Blundstone Arena

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Adelaide Strikers

Gabba

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Perth Scorchers

The Furnace (WACA)

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Sydney Sixers

Gabba

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Melbourne Renegades

Etihad Stadium

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Hobart Hurricanes

Gabba

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 23 October, 2014 5:57PM AEST

Oct 232014
 
Pakistan Australia dubai first Test small crowd

Local workers reportedly unable to attend first Test

Scorecard: Pakistan v Australia, first Test

It was a big occasion for Australian Test debutants Mitchell Marsh and Steve O’Keefe, but perhaps only a thousand people saw it in person.

The atmosphere was sadly lacking and so was a big crowd for Wednesday’s first day of the first Test between Australia and Pakistan at Dubai’s cricket stadium.

The Twenty20 clash between the sides on October 5 in Dubai was a sell-out, drawing more than 20,000 fans.

But that was at night and Test cricket is played during the day, when thousands of guest workers and passionate cricket fans are unable to attend matches in the United Arab Emirates.

Australia cricket enthusiast Luke Gillian and his band of 27 loyal tour followers were prominent high in the stands behind the bowler’s arm and featured heavily in TV coverage of the game.

Their voices seemed to carry a long way in the near-empty stadium and no doubt the players could hear their words of encouragement.

Australia quick Mitchell Johnson thought the high temperatures may have been a deterrent.

However, it’s believed the issue of guest workers, many of whom are from Pakistan and would love to watch the game in person, is a big issue in terms of getting fans through the gate.

“It is a bit disappointing playing in front of no crowds. A little bit different I guess,” said Johnson, who claimed 3-22 off 20 overs.

“We would like to have bigger crowds at the games and for guys that are playing their first games, it would have been nice for them to have a bigger crowd,” Johnson said.

“But the whole occasion for them was amazing with family and friends here.

“But we knew that would be the case there.

“It is pretty hot and it is hard to sit and watch long hard cricket.”

Johnson has had his troubles with rowdy England fans in the past, although he had his revenge last summer by winning the award for player of the series.

After saying the small crowd in Dubai was disappointing, Johnson went on to describe it as a nice change.

“A bit of peace and quiet,” he grinned.

Test

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 23 October, 2014 4:19PM AEST

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