Failure Down Under, yet again

January 14, 2024

Pakistan’s poor Test run in Australia continued despite newcomer Aamer Jamal’s impressive performances

Failure Down Under, yet again

Pakistan cricket team faced another whitewash in Australia earlier this month. The Green-caps continued their poor run on Aussies soil. The third Test in Sydney was Pakistan’s 17th consecutive loss in Australia. It extended the wait for their first Test victory in Australia since 1995-96.

It was a horror show for the new captain Shan Masood, whose Test captaincy started with a 3-0 whitewash. Despite the 0-3 series loss Shan was Pakistan’s leading run-scorer, with a higher strike rate than any player from either side all series. But like former skippers Shan also failed to stop the losing streak in Australia.

In the last 25 years, against Pakistan, Australia have won the series 3-0 (3) in 1999; 3-0 (3) in 2004; 3-0 (3) in 2009; 3-0 (3) in 2016; 2-0 (2) in 2019; and 3-0 (3) in 2023.

Australia have won 11 of their last 13 tests at home. Two draws (England survived by 1 wicket, rain saved South Africa after they followed on).

Pakistan teams won only four Tests in Australia, three when Sarfraz Nawaz and Imran Khan took apart some mediocre teams in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and one in 1995 when Mushtaq Ahmed spun them out in Sydney supported by pace from Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. Even then Pakistan never won more than once a tour. They never won a series.

Australia have won 17 Tests consecutively in Australia against Pakistan. No other team has defeated an opponent in a country in even ten consecutive Tests. The second-longest streak is nine, also for Australia at home against the West Indies between 2000 and 2009.

It is the seventh time that Australia clean-swept Pakistan. Six of those series wins came in Australia, including five since 1999. No other team has clean-swept an opponent more often. England have clean-swept New Zealand five times and India four times, while Australia have whitewashed England on four occasions.

Before the recently concluded series, both teams had last met in March 2022 when Australia toured Pakistan for the first time in 24 years. After draws in the first two Tests (Rawalpindi and Karachi), Australia managed to break through Pakistan’s defences in the final match in Lahore with a 115-run win to seal an historic victory.

In the series, Pakistan’s experienced and young batsmen faced a tough challenge from Australia’s fast bowlers, who didn’t allow opposition batting to settle with their consistent and accurate bowling.

Australia’s bowlers, led by captain Pat Cummins, delivered outstanding performances that set them apart from team Pakistan.

A positive aspect of the series for Pakistan was young fast bowler Aamer Jamal, who became the fourth Pakistani player to score 100 runs and take a five-for in a Test. Before him Wasim Akram had done it against Australia in Adelaide in 1990. Imran Khan (twice) and Mushtaq Mohammad (twice) are others to achieve this feat.

Amir Jamal took 18 wickets in the series. Only two Pakistan bowlers, Fazal Mahmood (20) against India in 1952-53 and Nasim-ul-Ghani (19) against Australia in 1958, have taken more wickets in their debut series. Jamal is also the first Pakistan player with a 50-plus score and a five-for in his debut series.

After winning the Test series against Pakistan (3-0), Australia have reached the top of the World Test Championship 2023-25 points table. They now have 56.25% points from eight Tests. Pakistan are now sixth with 36.66% points.

India were on the top after their seven-wicket win over South Africa in Cape Town. They are now second with 54.16% points from four Tests. South Africa, meanwhile, have moved down to joint-third with New Zealand and Bangladesh. All three teams have 50% points from their respective two games.

Although Pakistan lost 3-0, they really pushed Australia at points in this series and played the game in the right way. If the fielders had supported the bowlers, the results could have been different.

With the end of the Test series, David Warner retired as one of Australia’s greatest opening batsmen with 8,786 runs in 112 Tests at an average of 44.59 with 26 centuries and 37 fifties since his debut against New Zealand in 2011.

Mitchell Marsh was the most successful batsman of the Test series with 344 runs in three matches, averaging 86 with the help of four fifties. He fell in the nineties twice, first in Perth when he made 90 and then in Melbourne when he was out four runs short of a century.

Wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan scored most 194 runs in two Tests with the average of 48.25 including one half-century. Former skipper Babar Azam’s performance was below par as he scored only 126 runs in six innings, averaging 21. He failed to score a single fifty in the series, his highest score being 41 in Sydney.

Again, it was batting that let down Pakistan in Australia. Abdullah Shafiq (110), Imam-ul-Haq (94) and Saud Shakeel (92) also failed to deliver.

Only one century was scored in the bowlers dominated Test series. Warner was the century-maker. He scored a hundred in the first Test.

Australian skipper Pet Cummins took most 19 wickets with the average of just 12. He took five wickets in an inning thrice and helped turn the MCG Test in his side’s favour after Pakistan looked well-poised at one stage.

For Pakistan fast bowler Aamer Jamal was the most successful bowler with 18 scalps, averaging 20.44. He took five wickets or more twice.

Nathan Lyon showed once again how he is useful for Australian cricket. Lyon tirelessly sent down 104.1 overs, the only bowler across sides to send down more than 100 in the series. No Pakistani spinner was there to perform like Lyon.

Pakistan’s fielding in the three-match Test series against Australia was one of the main reasons for defeat. Fielders dropped the simplest catches of key players in the early stages. Abdullah Shafiq dropped three crucial catches in the slip position.

Failure Down Under, yet again