Sunday Stream: Terrifying Tait and Steve Smith's debut
Watch a full replay of this T20 classic as Australia meet Pakistan in February 2010 where a promising young leg-spinning allrounder makes his international debut
22 May 2020, 06:49 PM AEST
A one-off Twenty20 international to close out Pakistan's eventful – but so-far winless tour of Australia seemed to be the visitors' best chance of securing a win.
But Shaun Tait, at the peak of his powers, had other ideas while a 20-year-old blonde leg-spinner named Steve Smith made his international debut.
How to watch
The stream will be supported by Twitter coverage on the @cricketcomau account with clips and highlights.
Setting the scene
The 2009-10 summer was a tumultuous one for Pakistan, but the switch to the T20 format offered a fresh start. After all, Pakistan were the reigning T20 World Cup champions, having lifted the trophy at Lord's just seven months before.
But the tour of Australia was a difficult one for Pakistan. Rumours of infighting between Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik dogged the players, and morale quickly deteriorated.
If it was low after they lost the first Test by 170 runs in Melbourne, it hit rock bottom in Sydney in a highly controversial New Year's Test.
Australia, having been bowled out for 127 in the first innings, fought back from a seemingly hopeless position with a big second-innings score. Michael Hussey posted an unbeaten 134 but it was the four drops and a missed run-out by the Pakistan 'keeper Kamran Akmal that had eyebrows raised.
Australia duly completed a memorable 36-run win that has long been dogged by allegations of impropriety by the visitors.
A series sweep was confirmed in Hobart as Ricky Ponting's double century on his home ground at Blundstone Arena set-up another big win.
Australia steamrollered their way through the five-match ODI series that ended in a wild match at the WACA Ground when Shahid Afridi was caught on camera biting the cricket ball and a pitch invader crash-tackled Khalid Latif, earning the local man a huge fine and a lifetime ban.
Afridi was left to chew on a two-game ban, which ruled him out of the one-off T20 to close the tour.
While 'Boom Boom' said bye-bye, more than 60,000 fans packed the MCG for the match, creating a fevered party atmosphere.
It was a slightly new-look Australian T20 side. Having been bundled out of the 2009 T20 World Cup in England in straight sets, there was a changing of the guard.
Ricky Ponting had stood down after that World Cup exit and Michael Clarke had taken charge of the team. Speedsters Brett Lee and Nathan Hauritz had moved on from the format at international level, as was spinner Nathan Hauritz.
Mitchell Johnson was already a mainstay of the side but now Shaun Tait was back to add more firepower to replace Lee. Tait had not played a T20 international for more than a year before his recall for this match, his fourth T20 international, but had been terrorising batsmen with his pace in the 2009-10 state-based Big Bash with South Australia.
Hauritz's exit from the shortest format opened the door for the 20-year-old Steve Smith, from New South Wales, to earn his maiden international cap – T20 cap No.43.
Smith had already played a key role in the NSW Blues winning the 2009 T20 Champions League, and had performed strongly in the 2009-10 state-based Big Bash with the Blues. He'd even spent some time around the Test squad during the summer when Hauritz was injured.
The leg-spinner was NSW's leading wicket-taker in the domestic T20 competition with seven scalps in 12 overs across five matches at an economy rate of an even 6. His numbers compared favourably with that of Afridi, who'd spent the summer playing with the South Australian Redbacks.
Smith's batting was reasonable, but no better than to see him used at No.8. For the Blues he'd scored 54 runs in four innings – 35 of them coming in one knock – at a strike rate of 110.
Still, he showed promise enough to prompt Clarke to say: "He's got the talent and I think not just in Twenty20. He's obviously stoked to get his opportunity here but he wants to play Test cricket and one-day cricket for Australia. I think his opportunity will come in time. He needs to keep doing what he's doing. He's got the confidence, he loves getting the ball in his hands and having a bowl."
Only time will tell….