Tortured Australians plead Ab-Bas (No More) as Pakistan win 2nd Test in Abu Dhabi
Mohammad Abbas, one of the most skilful bowlers in world cricket, proved his high class, once again in Abu Dhabi.
Pakistan 282 (Fakhar Zaman 94, Sarfraz Ahmed 94; Nathan Lyon 4-78, Marnus Labuschagne 3-45) and 400-9 (Fakhar Zaman 66, Azhar Ali 64, Babar Azam 99, Sarfraz Ahmed 81; Nathan Lyon 4-135)
Australia 145 ( Mohammad Abbas 5-33) and 164-9 (Marnus Labuschagne 43; Mohammad Abbas 5-62)
Result - Pakistan won by 373 runs
Toss - Pakistan won the toss and decided to bat
Venue - Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
His reputation and world-ranking, both have soared sky high. In becoming the first ever paceman to pick up a 10-wicket match haul in a Test in UAE, he helped Pakistan to crush Australia by a margin of 373 runs, in the second and deciding Test of the series. The Australian batting, depleted with the absence of Steven Smith and David Warner, serving bans for the ball-tampering saga in South Africa, were further weakened by an injury to Usman Khawaja , who was unable to bat today. The combination of pace and spin simply tormented the baggy green caps, for them to become 'easy meat' for Pakistan
On the fourth morning, even before the drinks, Australia had slumped to 78 for 5 with Abbas having picked up all four wickets. He brought the keeper up to stop Aaron Finch playing him well outside the crease and soon trapped the batsman plumb leg-before. In the same over he bowled Australian captain Tim Paine, playing no stroke, for a duck. Game Over. What a bowler he is turning out to be for Pakistan. To keep producing such deadly spells with hardly any assistance from the wicket or the overhead conditions, Abbas sliced through the batting line-up. His probing line and length coupled with movement both off the pitch and in the air makes him a formidable opponent.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed did not take the field on the fourth day, with a scan due on the blow he took on the head yesterday. Asad Shafiq led the team and Pakistan’s request for a specialist wicket-keeper to fill in for Sarfraz, too was within the new laws changed recently by MCC. Sarfraz’s replacement, the energetic Mohammad Rizwan, chipped in with two catches, both off Abbas.
An extended opening session lasting 2 and a half hour, followed by an hour long lunch, is a norm in UAE to accommodate for weekly-Islamic Friday prayers, a practice first adopted by Pakistan in the days of General Zia-ul-Haq, in the late 1970s. Yasir Shah, ever so keen on long spells had bowled unchanged so far for 19 overs, including two the previous evening. At lunch with Australia on 155-7, Abbas had been brought back into the attack, no doubt to claim his 10th wicket of the match and finish off the Aussie resistance.
He did achieve the milestone after the interval. Australia were all out for 164 in 49.4 overs, shortly after lunch, with Khawaja absent hurt. Its second innings only had two noteworthy partnerships: 61-run 2nd-wicket between Finch (31) and Travis Head (34) and the 67 runs added for the 6th wicket by top-scorer Marnus Labuschagne (43) and Mitchell Starc (28). Yasir Shah picked up three wickets in his spell of 21.4 overs. Abbas with 5-62 in the second innings became the first Pakistan pacemen, since Mohammad Asif way back in 2006, to claim ten wickets in a Test. He was an obvious choice for both Player of the Match as well as the Series.
Pakistan team, in transition following the retirement of its two stalwarts Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, who both retired last year, is still searching for consistency in its performance. The two-Test against Australia in UAE has merely reconfirmed its domination in the Asian conditions with lots of positives to take into the forthcoming series with New Zealand, in these very conditions. By beating Australia with such a comprehensive margin, before tea on the 4th day, Pakistan has proved itself to be so much better side. It was yet another example of team taking full advantage of ‘home’ conditions and the visitors, despite the best coaches available in the conditioning camps, simply having no answer.
Pakistan - Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed(c)(wk), Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Mir Hamza, Yasir Shah
Australia - Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Tim Paine(c)(wk), Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Jon Holland
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