Pakistan vs Australia: Second Test Preview

Cricket ball sits on pitch

Pakistan will have to pick themselves up from the bitter disappointment of failing to put Australia away on day five of the first Test when they meet in the decisive match.

Australia will be buoyed by the way they scrapped for the draw, but will also know they were outplayed for the first four days of the first Test.

Pakistan vs Australia | 16 October - 20 October | The Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi  

To Win Match
Pakistan 15/20
Draw 33/10
Australia 5/2

It was a frustrating result in Dubai, where Pakistan were left to rue a lack of cutting edge with the ball on the final day as they fell two wickets short of victory.

Pakistan were dealt an injury blow during the first Test, with opener Imam-ul-Haq ruled out of the second match with a fractured finger.

Azhar Ali might resume his partnership with Mohammad Hafeez to replace the injured Imam at the top of the order, while another option is uncapped white-ball opener Fakhar Zaman. Should Pakistan not opt to bring in Fakhar, either at the top or in the middle, they could bring in an extra bowler in the form of all-rounder Shadab Khan.

Hafeez showed himself to be in great form with both bat and ball and Pakistan will be hopeful that his problems with his bowling action are behind him.

Paceman Wahab Riaz was by far the worst of Pakistan's bowlers and the team could look to replace him for an immediate boost to their attack. Candidates to step in for the veteran quick are Hasan Ali or all-rounder Faheem Ashraf. Pakistan might be reluctant to swap the pace of Wahab for Faheem's military medium, but he would beef up the lower-order batting.

Australia still have some serious middle-order concerns after it became clear through the first Test that Mitchell Marsh will struggle with the rigours of batting at four in the ultimate format.

Coach Justin Langer is mulling over bringing opening bat Matt Renshaw in as a number three to bolster the middle order while keeping the successful new opening pair of Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja.

Renshaw would probably slot into the team at the expense of Marnus Labuschagne, who had an inauspicious debut with the bat, though he did bag a wicket in each innings with his part-time leg-spin.

The coach also has some concerns about fast bowler Mitchell Starc's workload after his marathon bowling effort in Pakistan's first innings. It is unlikely that Starc will be rested though, given the series is there to be won and the two men in reserve, Michael Neser and Brendan Doggett, are uncapped at Test level.

Left-arm spinner Jon Holland probably did enough with his three for 83 in Pakistan's second innings to keep spin-bowling all-rounder Ashton Agar back in the dressing room.

Tim Paine's stoic unbeaten half-ton will relieve some of the pressure on the skipper, who some have accused of not scoring enough runs to justify his place in the team.

Verdict: Pakistan 15/20
Pakistan will want to see more turn in Abu Dhabi than was seen in Dubai, but should still have enough quality to send Australia packing. 

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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