I see that Pakistan have made an encouraging start in the second innings as they look to chase down the mammoth target set by Ozzies. So, can a batting line-up that tends to fall like a pack of cards make history by creating a world record for chasing down the highest target ever?
Yes, it can be said that chances of Pakistan winning the match is remote as chasing a target of 440 is indeed a daunting task, but if the sun comes out today, they can at least make a good fist of the challenge they are confronted with. Under overcast conditions and with humidity around, Lord's assisted the quickies, but if the sun comes out, the pitch at Lord's is not much different from what we see at Lahore, or other Pakistan's grounds. In recent times, the pitch has become a belter and even on the fifth day, it doesn't break up.
Secondly, in recent times, teams have been able to successfully chase down huge targets on a regular basis. For instance, South Africa defeated Australia at Perth in 08/09 by chasing down a target in excess of 400 and India were able to do the same against England at Madras in 08/09. Batsmen friendly tracks, batsmen with a positive outlook, maybe poorer bowling attacks and sometimes, defensive captains have contributed to teams chasing down huge targets which, in another time, would have been thought of as a improbable task.
For Pakistan to have any chance of winning the match, the promising, Azhar Ali and Butt have to come up with a huge partnership and rest of the batsmen can chip in with useful scores. If they get a good start on the fourth day, there is at least a chance of creating a bit of panic among Aussie players. Moreover, Australia don't have McGrath, or Warne in the attack. The young spinner Smith is promising, but is making his debut. I also feel that Ponting presses the panic button too soon so, if Pakistan can get to a score of 200 for the loss of say couple of wickets, it would be interesting to see Ponting's tactics.
Yes, realistically, Australia should win this match comfortably, but if Pakistan make a good start on the fourth day, who knows? They may pull a rabbit out of the hat and win this match.
Anyway, even if Pakistan lose, I have been impressed by the commitment shown by their players in the field as they have taken their catches and for once, Akmal hasn't dropped a catch of Kaneria. I also hope that young batsmen in the side can learn from the mistakes they made in the first innings. The only negative point has been Afridi, as his tactics of using the spinners with cloud cover around was bewildering. Less said the better about his batting!