Pakistan are playing – some would say, losing to – Australia in the third ODI at Adelaide, having already lost the Test series and the first two ODIs to them. If you weren’t aware of that last bit of information, the scoreline might actually not look all that bad – at the time of writing, 239-4 at the start of the 46th over, although with Michaels Clarke and Hussey at the crease you’d reasonably expect a death-overs blitz. So far, Pakistan have been predictable – decent bowling, atrocious fielding (never has a cricket ball looked more as though each contact with the willow infuses it with a fine coating of some corrosive substance – an acid, perhaps? – that forces the fielders to chase it with extreme reluctance, and juggle it like a hot potato every time a catch or stop is attempted) – displaying, in other words, their usual air of well-intentioned haplessness in the field.
Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal has had a particularly nightmarish tour so far, having been dropped and then recalled and, as keeper, generally being the lightning-rod for criticism of Pakistan’s uniformly shite fielding. Today he’s done well, playing a part in two out of the four Australian dismissals so far as well as being alert behind the wicket and maintaining a steady stream of encouraging (if slightly high-pitched) chirping to his team, as a good keeper should. But he’s Kamran Akmal, which means that it couldn’t possibly stay at that. Facing down a short-pitched one from Umar Gul in the 45th over, Akmal moved to intercept – and reeled as the ball ricocheted viciously up to hit him a crushing blow right in the throat. To his credit, he shook it off, but with an expression that said as eloquently as possible: Why me? Why is it always me?
Sorry, Kamran, we’ve no idea. If I could give you a hug, I would, though. It’s getting a bit much now.