Australia vs Pakistan 2nd Test: Preview and Prediction
Thumping Pakistan with a 360-run victory in just four days in the first Test, Australia would look to seal the three-game series with a win in the Boxing Day Test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Pakistan’s captain Shan Masood was happy with his team’s effort in the first innings as they were able to bat for 100 overs. However, the capitulation in the second innings under two sessions exposed their weaknesses.
Australia, on the other hand, proved themselves to be better with both bat and the ball in the first Test. Their bowling changes led to a wicket almost every time and David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, and Usman Khawaja played long knocks in the middle to frustrate the Pakistani bowlers.
Khurram Shahzad will not play a part in the second Test after an MRI scan revealed a stress fracture in his 10th rib and an abdominal muscle tear. To add to the visitors’ woes, Noman Ali has been ruled out of the match as he had to be rushed to the hospital due to appendicitis.
Mohammad Rizwan is likely to replace Sarfaraz Ahmed behind the gloves after the latter’s poor performance in the first Test. Moreover, the former scored an unbeaten 50 off 70 deliveries in a two-day practice match against Victoria XI before the Boxing Day test.
The early finish has given the Aussie bowlers a much-needed break and they are unlikely to make any changes to the second Test. Lance Morris has been omitted from the 14-member initial squad so that he can play for Perth Scorchers in the BBL.
Australia’s season of Test summer just began after winning the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. Coming to their Test form, they beat India in the WTC finals after Travis Head and Steven Smith scored centuries to put 469 runs on the board in the first innings. With 444 to chase in the fourth innings, India got bundled out at 234 with Nathan Lyon claiming four wickets in his spell of under 16 overs.
They went on to retain the Ashes with a 2-2 tied fixture Australia won the first two Test matches quite comfortably with Khawaja’s 141 and 65 helping the side win by 2 wickets in the first Test.
In the second Test, Steven Smith was the Player of the Match with his 110 and 34 allowing Australia to win the fixture by 43 runs. England won the third and the fifth Test while the fourth one ended in a draw as Marnus Labuachagne scored 51 and 111 runs in the first and second innings respectively.
Pakistan came second best in the first Test by quite some margin. David Warner’s 164 and Mitchell Marsh’s 90 helped Australia post 487 runs in the first innings with Aamer Jamal’s six-wicket haul preventing the extent of the damage. Pakistan crumbled for 267 with Imam-Ul-Haq not finding any further support in his knock of 62 off 199 balls.
Usman Khawaja’s 90 and Mitchell Marsh’s 63 off 68 balls helped Australia race off to 233 and declare with more than a day’s play left. Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and Nathan Lyon sealed the deal in 30.2 overs to win the game.
Prior to that. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka 2-0 in a Test series Saud Shakeel’s 208 not out in the first innings helped them win the game by four wickets and two sessions of play remaining.
Noman Ali took seven wickets as Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 222 runs in the second Test with Abdullah Shafique’s 201 allowing his side to declare at 576.
Head to Head record
Australia and Pakistan have played with each other a total of 70 times in the past. The former has won a total of 35 times while the latter has won only on 15 occasions. A total of 20 fixtures have ended in a draw.
In Australia, Pakistan has won only four games with the last one coming way back in 1995 when the trio of Mushtaq Ahmed, Wasim Akram, and Waqar Younis bamboozled the Aussies in Sydney. Moreover, Pakistan have failed to win a single Test series in Australia.
Josh Hazlewood: Hazlewood restricted Pakistan to a measly score of 89 with his 3-13 spell in 7.2 overs. He also took the wicket of Saud Shakeel in both the innings who looked as one of the settled batters in the Pakistan unit.
Hazlewood is very disciplined with his line and length which is visible in the 9 maiden overs he bowled from the total of 29 overs he got in the two innings. This puts a lot of pressure on the batters and they concede a wicket in the opposite end.
Imam Ul Haq: Imam Ul Haq saved Pakistan’s grace in the first innings by staying in the crease for 199 deliveries. He was able to score only 62 runs, however, and would be hoping to put more runs on the board this time.
Imam scored only 10 runs in the second innings but stayed on the crease for 20 deliveries. As his other teammates struggled with the conditions, Imam was the only player who was able to read the conditions in the first three days
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam Ul Haq, Shan Masood ©, Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Salman Ali Agha, Faheem Ashraf, Aamer Jamal, Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuachagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins ©, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
Pakistan has always ended up on the losing side against Australia while playing away from home since 1995. The injection of Mohammad Rizwan is unlikely to yield any benefit to the Pakistan side. At the most, they can play for a draw but against the pace trio of Australia and Nathan Lyon, it would be an uphill task.