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November 7, 2019

Aussies rest Pat Cummins as Pakistan look to level series


November 7, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan were saved by the rain in Sydney but there was no respite for the tourists in Canberra where Australia swaggered a comfortable win in the second Twenty20 International on Tuesday.

The Pakistanis, who were stunned 3-0 by Sri Lanka at home last month, will now be looking to somehow stop the Aussie juggernaut in the final Twenty20 International in Perth to square the three-match series.

There was some good news for the visitors on Wednesday when it was revealed that Australia will rest their pace spearhead Pat Cummins for the game in Perth on Friday (tomorrow). The decision to rest Cummins may well open the way for Sean Abbott to play his first international in more than five years, as Australia look for another series-winning triumph.

Meanwhile the Aussies are already mulling over their options for the upcoming two-Test series against Pakistan. Australia coach Justin Langer has said the next round of Sheffield Shield and the Australia A game against Pakistan will play a key role in shaping the final decisions over the Test squad.

Travis Head’s century in the recent round of matches has helped his cause as he aims for a recall and he will line-up alongside Usman Khawaja, Will Pucovski and Nic Maddinson.

“I’m hoping someone starts banging really hard on the door,” Langer said. “Travis played well. I thought the way Matthew Wade played was excellent in winning the game for Tasmania. Cameron Green, can we slide him in the top four. He’s got a very bright future. I watched him bat yesterday - I know how well he can bowl, he’s a good young kid.

“I keep maintaining there is so much talent in Australian cricket we’ve just got to make sure we get the combinations right and make sure we get the people that are ready to go for this Test series.”

A comfortable victory over Pakistan in Canberra on Tuesday evening, underpinned by Steven Smith’s deft innings to smooth over the loss of early wickets in the chase, has further demonstrated how Australia are developing role clarity for their T20 team.

Smith took complete control of the pursuit, providing a reminder that in the brief phase in which he has previously played in the Australia T20I side as a specialist batsman rather than a speculative wrist spin bowler, he showed an aptitude for being the “clean up man” if early wickets fell.

Across nine matches in 2015-16, Smith returned 263 runs at 32.87 and a strike rate of 135.56, before bowing out of T20I duty to provide brief periods of rest between his many Test match and ODI commitments. “If you look at my batting record in T20 internationals, it’s not crash hot,” Smith said. “I guess you have to bear in mind … early in my career I was batting No. 8 or 9, coming in and slogging, facing half a dozen balls tops. It’s never easy so it’s going to affect your record at some point.

“I don’t doubt my ability. I know the tempos of the game … and I’ve played a lot of cricket now. I may not be as strong as some of the other guys but I use placement and timing. The white ball usually flies off the bat particularly when it’s brand new. If you’re timing the ball well you get value for your shots most places.

“If you’re chasing you weigh up the situation and what you need and what you need to go at, which bowlers you want to target and just work out the maths in your head and that’s chasing. Batting first you have to sum up conditions and how the wicket is playing, what you think a good score is and who is in the opposition, all those sorts of things. I’ve played a lot of cricket now, I’m pretty experienced and my role in this team is to fix it if the top don’t come off.” —with inputs from agencies

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