KARACHI: Australia turned the tables on Pakistan with some superb batting on day four to take a first innings lead despite Pakistan posting 443-9, a score that many thought would be difficult for the hosts to match.
Centuries from Australia’s two most experienced batsmen — David Warner and Steven Smith — meant they are now almost certain to go into the final game with at least a 1-0 lead in hand, ensuring that they cannot lose the three-match series.
Warner’s 144 leads Australia’s strong reply to Pakistan’s 443
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who was billed as an effective weapon on Australia’s bouncy surfaces, struggled to trouble or contain the batsmen and leaked runs at an alarming rate.
Former Pakistan bowling coach Mohammad Akram feels Pakistan missed a trick by not sending a spin bowling coach for the Australian tour. “Considering the importance of the tour and Yasir’s lack of experience of bowling in Tests Down Under, we should have sent a spin bowling coach to guide him,” said Akram. “A fast-bowling coach, despite his knowledge, can’t help spinners much. Yasir has been too defensive and it seems like he has been caught in two minds about his role.”
Akram also expressed his disappointment at the lack of control displayed by the Pakistan pacers, which allowed Australia to score at a quick rate on a true batting track. Warner, especially, was in ruthless form and smashed 144 off 143 balls at better than run-a-ball.
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“Pakistan needed to strike with the new ball — if you don’t get quick wickets, you will always struggle to control the scoring rate,” said the former Test pacer. “Once the ball got old, the floodgates opened and the batsmen started dominating proceedings.”
Akram criticised the defensive approach to a match that Pakistan had to win if they were to claim the series, having gone into the game 1-0 down in the three-match series. “Pakistan’s tactics were a bit too defensive,” he said. “It is especially infuriating since they had posted a big total and could afford to attack. Yasir and the pacers struggled for line and direction and unfortunately the golden opportunity provided by the batsmen was lost.”
‘Batting a breath of fresh air’
While he was scathing in his review of the bowlers, Akram was quite the contrary for the pacers.
Akram, who toured Australia with the Test team in 1995 and 1999, feels the current batting line-up has outperformed the teams of the 90s, which were full of batting greats.
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“Pakistan’s batting has been really pleasing; the visitors have crossed the 400-run mark after a very long time in Australia (33 years),” he said. “Even in the 90s, we struggled to get to 300 there despite our formidable batting line-up full of batting greats. Pakistan’s batting effort is truly commendable and heartening for cricket followers and I hope they continue in the same vein in the third and final Test in Sydney.”
courtesy : express tribune