Pakistan likely to make changes for pink-ball test in Adelaide
It was a commanding performance by the hosts in the first test at the Gabba, Pakistan never really looked like recovering after the second day where Australia’s batsmen finished on 312/1 at stumps. Opener David Warner returned to his bullish-self and his opening partner Joe Burns also impressed in his home state as well. Warner’s return to form back on home soil now dismisses any scrutiny he was under after a torrid-Ashes series in the UK, he’s bounced back with 154 in the first test of the summer and looks like the Warner of old. For the first time in a long while, Steve Smith wasn’t the major story to come out of the test. Smith himself was actually dismissed for just 4 runs, it was Marnus Labuschagne who took Pakistan for a joy ride on his way to a massive-185 runs. The Aussies have well & truly found their new No. 3, that’s not great news for Usman Khawaja who’s been in-and-out of the test side regularly, however it is a major positive for Australian cricket. Naseem Shah’s zippy-pace as a teenager on debut was refreshing to watch, but it didn’t seem to overly-trouble the Aussie batsmen apart from David Warner who was given a reprieve after vision showed Naseem had overstepped. The 16-year-old later dismissed Warner, but the damage had already been done. Speaking of fast bowlers, Mitchell Starc must be one of the biggest threats leading into this second test for a number of reasons. With the pink ball under lights, Starc should be able to generate plenty of swing which could spell game over for Pakistan if his radar is on target. If Pat Cummins continues to have the impact he’s having in International cricket, Starc won’t be the only one the tourists have to worry about.
It’s as simple as this, Pakistan made some mistakes in Brisbane which didn’t help their cause, but at the same time it certainly didn’t cost them the game. Australia were always going to be difficult to defeat at home, and the way their fast bowlers and top order performed saw Pakistan comprehensively-outclassed. The decision to bat first after winning the toss was a gutsy-move, in the end it didn’t pay off but Azhar Ali was making a statement more than anything that they weren’t going to back down. Perhaps where Pakistan went wrong was more so in the team selection, giving Haris Sohail the nod over Imam-ul-Haq was an appalling-decision to say the least after he showed no form in the T20I series and both tour matches in Perth. As a result, Sohail scored 1 & 8 in Brisbane and now remains in doubt to play in Adelaide. How Mohammad Abbas missed out in Brisbane is bewildering, his record speaks for itself – 66 wickets in 14 tests at an average of 18.86. If lack of pace was his only downfall, Imran Khan can consider himself lucky. Khan did force himself into the side after claiming a five-wicket haul against AUS A in Perth, but we didn’t see any of that from him at the Gabba where he managed just 1/73. Shan Masood, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were some of the few positives to take out of Brisbane, all three fought valiantly with the bat. Yasir Shah is another whose batting has significantly improved, his role with the ball will be even more important in Adelaide though after he bowled 48.4 overs in Australia’s first & only innings at the Gabba.
TOP 5 FANTASY PICKS – 2nd test, Adelaide
- Mitchell Starc
- Pat Cummins
- Steve Smith
- Josh Hazlewood
- Matthew Wade
Wildcard pick – Nathan Lyon
- Asad Shafiq
- Babar Azam
- Naseem Shah
- Mohammad Abbas
- Yasir Shah
Wildcard pick – Imam-ul-Haq
Australia – 1. David Warner 2. Joe Burns 3. Marnus Labuschagne 4. Steve Smith 5. Matthew Wade 6. Travis Head 7. Tim Paine (c & wk) 8. Pat Cummins 9. Mitchell Starc 10. Nathan Lyon 11. Josh Hazlewood.
Pakistan (possible) – 1. Shan Masood 2. Azhar Ali (c) 3. Imam-ul-Haq 4. Asad Shafiq 5. Babar Azam 6. Iftikhar Ahmed/Haris Sohail 7. Mohammad Rizwan (wk) 8. Yasir Shah 9. Shaheen Afridi 10. Mohammad Abbas 11. Naseem Shah.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.