By: Saim Khan
Pakistan cricket team playing its 12th test series in Australia with the first series being played in 1964/65 of only one match which was played in Melbourne. That drawn test match was Pakistan’s first visit to Australia.
Now in 2016, Pakistan test team is in Australia and facing some difficulties. This series is gone out of Pakistan’s reach after shocking loss in second test at the Melbourne cricket ground. After scoring 450 in last innings of first test match at Brisbane cricket ground, all nation hoped that this Pakistani team can give a good fight to Aussies but all that confidence bogged down after failing to bat for two complete sessions and 16 minutes of 1st session and being bowled out for just 163 runs in 52.2 overs in Melbourne.
After two losses the Pakistani team will head towards Sydney for third and final test of the series. Sydney is venue where Pakistan won a test match by 8 wickets in 1976/77 under the leadership of great Imran Khan. In that match skipper Imran Khan picked 12 wickets and Asif Iqbal scored 120 runs.
Going for third test there are some decisions for Pakistan to make as opener Sami Aslam looked very uncomfortable against Aussie attack, he only scored 48 runs in 4 innings at a poor average of 12 and his defensive nature put pressure on the inform Azhar Ali. If management decide to drop Sami then Sharjeel will come in the equation. Sharjeel’s aggressive nature will also complement Azhar Ali’s style of play. Another concern for Pakistan team is the poor form of experienced pair of Younis khan and Misbah-ul-Haq. Both batsman looked out of form with. Though Younis made a scratchy 65 in first test but still he did not look comfortable at all. Misbah on the other hand scored only 20 runs at an average of 5 runs. This has put other batters under pressure. At the same time Pakistan want both of them to perform better in the last test of this series because this might be their last test match for Pakistan as age is not on their side because Misbah is 42 and Younis is 39 years old. Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq are only two batsman who looked in command in these matches, both also scored 100s, even Azhar scored double hundred.
If we look at the bowling performance of our bowers that also shows that bowlers also bowled poorly in both the matches. In both matches bowlers leaked a lot of runs. Wahab Riaz is Pakistan’s highest wicket taker on the tour with 7 wickets but he gave 4.35 runs per over which at any cost in not acceptable for test match level. He also bowls no balls very frequently, he was also deprived of wicket of David Warner before his century. Yasir Shah was Pakistan’s match winner a few games ago but he also looked out of sorts, he only picked 6 wickets and gave 4.04 runs per over. Muhammad Amir only looked a bit better though he did not pick much wickets but his economy in 3.12 which is slightly better than other bowlers. Sohail Khan and Rahat Ali played one match each Sohail scored a good 50 with the bat but again his economy rate with the ball is very poor. Fielding is also an area of concern for Pakistan team but it is not a new thing for us.
These are some serious issues Pakistan team have to address before the Sydney test in order to avoid a white wash and also to gain some confidence before five match odi series vs Australia which will start form 13 January 2017.
Story first published: 30th December 2016