March 9, 2012

McKay won many admirers after his stupendous spell in Australia’s 16-run win over Sri Lanka in the third final of the CB Series in Adelaide, including Akram, who was impressed with McKay’s usage of slower deliveries as variations on Thursday. Man of the match McKay came up with a career-best 5 for 28 to hamper Sri Lanka’s run-chase of 231.

“McKay was too good with the slower ones. He was bowling so many of them and looked quite innocuous yet hard to pick. I think all of the Australian fast bowlers in their ODI side, Brett Lee, Ben Hilfenhaus and James Pattinson, must learn this trick from McKay,” said the former pace Moghul.

The ESPN STAR Sports commentator displayed his ‘hawk-eye’ when he described the way the Victorian dismissed Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene. “It was a different kind of slower ball which McKay bowled to clean up Jayawardene. Not the back of the hand delivery. He held the ball back into his palm and released it with the same force like his usual stock fast delivery. The only thing is that it comes real slow from the hand and Mahela was totally bamboozled. Great skill!” added Akram.

However, Akram was not anticipating an Aussie win once the hosts were all out for 231. “I thought it would be a simple win for Sri Lanka once they got 232 to chase. Instead, it was excellent captaincy from Shane Watson who handled his bowlers and fielders really well,” said the cricket expert.

After trouncing the hosts comfortably by eight wickets in the second final on the same surface two days back, it was a perfect chance for the islanders to claim their first-ever tri-series win in Australia. Akram feels their choice of fielding first on a used track could have been better.

“On a track which was used in the previous game, in such a big final, you are better off putting a total on the board rather than chasing. Yes, their batting is on form but in a do-or-die game if you are chasing 230-240 it gets trickier. The target is neither here nor there. They were excellent chasing down 272 the other day because they had to start attacking from the first ball. But I think here the decision to bowl first cost them,” he said.

The 45-year-old was all praise for injured Australian skipper Michael Clarke and advised him to not rush his return to the side. “Michael has captained really well in the series. He is in excellent form with the bat. My advice to him will be to not rush back from his injury. He should rest and recuperate fully from that hamstring injury and only then think of coming back. Australia will not miss him that much against the West Indies who are not the strongest of teams,” Wasim concluded.

Australia travel to the West Indies on Friday for the five ODI, two T20I and three-Test series, starting March 16.

By Joshua Nath
Courtesy: ESPN STAR

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