The inexperienced Pakistan got whitewashed once again in Australia
Pakistan cricket team is back home after another horrible Test series in Australia. This was the fifth consecutive time that Pakistan were whitewashed in a Test series in Australia.
Azhar Ali-led Pakistan, who had lost the first Test in Brisbane by an innings and 5 runs, also lost the day-night Test in Adelaide by an innings.
Australian conditions don’t suit our players. Pakistan have many talented individuals, but as a team they have failed to deliver. Since winning in Sydney in November 1995, Pakistan have lost 14 straight Tests in Australia. This is the longest consecutive losing streak for any team in a particular country.
Pakistan have won only four Tests in Australia out of 37. The unpredictable side of world cricket is becoming predictable.
Thus, Pakistan started the World Test Championship with worst possible performances. After the humiliating defeats, Pakistan dropped from 7th to 8th position in the ICC Test team ranking. They had slipped from 6th to 7th position in May 2018.
In August 2016, Pakistan achieved the top rank when they beat England.
Due to continuous one-sided series, Cricket Australia don’t consider Pakistan for a five-Test series. From January 2005 to December 2016, Pakistan played only three Tests in Australia while India played 12.
After Australia’s easy wins over Pakistan, former England captain Michael Vaughan said that only India are good enough to beat Australia on their soil.
Earlier this year, India won their first ever Test series in Australia. Virat Kohli-led side beat the Aussies 2-1.
David Warner was under pressure after Ashes series in England where he scored only 95. But Pakistan gave him a lifeline. The opener scored 489 runs in just two innings.
After scoring 154 in the first Test, Warner scored 335 not out in Adelaide. It was the second highest Test individual score by an Australian. Former opener Matthew Hayden’s 380 not out against Zimbabwe in 2003 is the highest.
Babar Azam was the only Pakistani batsman who managed to score over 200 runs in the series. Opener Shan Masood (156, avg 39) and Asad Shafiq (142, avg 35.5) offered some resistance to Australia’s ruthless bowling. Skipper Azhar Ali (62), Iftikhar Ahmed (44), Haris Sohail (9) and Imam-ul-Haq (2) failed to deliver.
Muhammad Rizwan, who replaced former skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, proved his selection with 144 runs in the series, averaging 44.25. He scored 95 at Adelaide.
It was the first occasion in Steve Smith’s Test career when he failed to score even one fifty in a series. But during the second Test, Smith became the fastest (126 innings) batsman to reach 7000 Test runs, breaking a record created in 1946. The previous fastest was Wally Hammond, who got there in 131 innings.
Smith is the 50th batsman to score 7000 or more runs in Test cricket but the only one who averages over 60. Pakistan’s decision to pick young and inexperienced bowlers for a tough tour backfired.
It is a usual practice in other cricket-playing countries that management gives chances to young players on their home ground or against low-ranked teams abroad. Misbah-ul-Haq said that Pakistan had surprises in bowling. But Pakistan bowlers managed to take only 13 wickets in the two Tests.
Since 1999 Pakistan’s bowlers have picked up 11.6 wickets per Test in Australia. Only Sri Lanka and West Indies have taken fewer; they conceded 3.82 runs per over, the most by any side in Australia.
Despite these pathetic performances, bowling coach Waqar Younis says that this squad is the future of Pakistan.
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting on the other hand says Pakistan’s bowlers have been poor and their bowling attack is terrible for a Test attack. “I am not sure I have seen a worse bowling attack on our shores in a long time,” he said after the series.
Pakistan’s fast bowlers took seven wickets out of the 13 which fell across the two Australian innings in the series.
But despite all this, we must remember that Pakistan failed miserably in Australia even when we had the services of such bowlers as Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Saqlain Mushtaq and Mushtaq Ahmed.
Mitchell Starc was the most successful bowler of the series with 14 wickets, averaging 17. Shaheen Shah Afridi took five wickets for Pakistan at an average of 36.80.
Failure of leg spinner Yasir Shah in the second Test leaves a question mark on his future. He took four wickets in the first Test, but none in the second despite bowling 32 overs. His economy rate was 4.98, quite high for Test cricket. In the second Test, his economy rate was 6.15. Mohammad Abbas and Muhammad Musa failed to take a single wicket, conceding 100 and 114, respectively.
However, that is all past. The players should now concentrate on the home series against Sri Lanka. It will be Pakistan’s first Test match on home soil after more than 10 years.
Fans hope that the Green-caps will open the account in the Test Championship by winning the series against Sri Lanka. It would be an opportunity for young players to prove their skills.
The management can rectify their mistakes by recalling players like Fawad Alam and Sami Aslam.