Tim Paine's Horrible Rookie Error Sums Up A Disastrous Series
Yeah, that about tells you the state of Aussie cricket.
Tim Paine just missed a straight ball. Left it alone. Stood there and watched as it cannoned into his stumps.
All batsmen miss straight ones from time to time, but the sight of the Australian captain shouldering arms to a not particularly venomous delivery exquisitely symbolised our national cricket team's fall from grace, not to mention its capitulation to Pakistan in the second Test at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Let's give the bowler some credit. In fact let's give him lots. Mohammad Abbas has been terrific in this series. Indeed he's been terrific his whole short career to date, taking 49 wickets in nine Tests before this one. His stats in this series are even better.
But the ball he bowled to Paine?
Well, it was angling in nicely from outside off stump, and it was on a good length. But as the off stump removed itself from its two timber brothers, it was clearly a case of batsman's error more than the bowler's brilliance.
Paine just picked the wrong one to leave.
And if you want to broaden the picture, he probably didn't pick the best time to be Australian captain either.
Not that it was his choice. The Tasmanian was installed in the role after Steve Smith failed to stop Dave Warner applying hardware supplies to cricket equipment. And to be fair, he has been a calm, likeable figure as skipper.
The 33-year-old has even made a few handy runs, not least his gutsy 61 not out as Australia drew the first match of this two-Test series.
In that match, it looked like a little steel might be coming back into the Aussie Test team. The storyline has changed now. Wholesale changes are clearly required in the batting order before the home summer of cricket.
If Australia loses this two-match series 1-0 -- as now seems almost certain -- this will not be unprecedented. Pakistan is notoriously hard to beat in the UAE, and indeed, Australia lost with a much better-credentialled team the last time they duelled in the desert.
But there's no doubt this team needs re-re-re-building. Again.
Australia was 5/114 after 30 overs at around 6:30 pm AEDT, chasing a highly improbable 538 runs for victory. The word is that Usman Khawaja won't bat, which should ensure this is over nice and quickly and everyone gets on the early flight.