Following a meek, uninspired efficiency that noticed Australia thump Pakistan in Sharjah – that would apply to both of the 2 ODIs, in all honesty – a seemingly throwaway remark from Shoaib Malik got here in for sustained criticism.
On the post-match presentation, Malik advised Ramiz Raja that Pakistan had been utilizing this collection to check their bench power and “profitable or shedding does not make a distinction”. It was clumsily phrased, most likely not what he meant within the method it was interpreted, but it surely set off a firestorm of shock, led by Ramiz himself, who questioned why the collection was being performed then. Both means, Malik and his males discover themselves within the limelight squarely as soon as once more, trying to stave off a collection loss in Abu Dhabi.
Pakistan could also be lacking a number of key gamers, besides, their toothless bowling assault will probably be of concern. The faster bowlers particularly have struggled to place Australia below strain with the brand new ball, having taken simply 4 wickets all collection, conceding 566 runs.
As if these issues weren’t intractable sufficient, Faheem Ashraf has been rested for the rest of the collection, depriving Pakistan of a invaluable all-round choice. Mohammad Amir’s ODI drought exhibits no indicators of abating, having taken simply 5 wickets at 92.6 within the past 21 months. Mohammad Hasnain will most likely be given one other recreation, however Usman Shinwari and Junaid Khan may be checked out as Pakistan search to herald modifications within the quick bowling division.
Main as much as the World Cup, Australia have quietly, effectively, abruptly, moved into prime gear, peaking at simply the appropriate time to sneak
into the contenders dialog. Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja abruptly look so impregnable you surprise how David Warner can squeeze into a gap slot at current, whereas the each tempo and spin bowlers have discomfited Pakistan sufficient to maintain them properly under par twice in a row.
Jhye Richardson’s unavailability following a nasty dislocation of the shoulder opens up a possibility for Jason Behrendorff or Kane Richardson within the remaining three ODIs. With Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood already battling to be match forward of the World Cup, Australia will hope to have as many quick bowling choices as potential to select from. The center order hasn’t been examined this collection, but when the India video games had been something to go by, they are going to be up for the problem. Pakistan’s job for now’s to not less than pose them some critical questions.
Australia WWWWW (accomplished matches, most up-to-date first)
Within the highlight
Shan Masood was a shining beacon on a reasonably gray Take a look at tour to South Africa a few months in the past, a lot so he was chosen for the ODI collection right here to see if he may very well be fast-tracked to the World Cup squad. It was an incredible alternative to pile on the runs on light, docile pitches, however up to now, Masood has fallen properly wanting doing that. He acquired begins in each video games, scoring 40 and 19, however when the time got here to kick on, he performed strange, careless strokes to offer his wicket away. His home limited-overs type over the previous yr has been distinctive, however with time operating out to assert a World Cup slot, Masood wants a noteworthy show within the video games that stay. If that does not occur within the third ODI, Masood might properly discover himself attempting to impress in two lifeless rubbers, the place performances will understandably carry lesser weight.
Whereas his circumstances aren’t as dire as his Pakistani counterpart Yasir Shah, Adam Zampa hasn’t reaped the rewards a prime spinner on Sharjah’s pitches usually ought to. He was disciplined and constant within the first ODI, conceding simply 44 in 10 overs, however self-discipline and consistency is what finger spinners are normally for. The wicket-taking menace that makes legspinners so revered and irritating in equal measure hasn’t shone by in Zampa’s recreation up to now, and 1-57 within the second ODI indicated he hasn’t fairly hit his straps but. It was markedly totally different within the collection towards India, the place, regardless of going for runs, Zampa took 11 wickets throughout 5 video games. It’s a trade-off any legspinner could be joyful to just accept, and Zampa’s ODI profession common of 36.42 belies the promise of his expertise.
Shoaib Malik was prepared to be so clear about his intentions he did not thoughts copping heavy censure for it, so anticipate extra rotation from Pakistan. Do not be shocked to see not less than one in every of Abid Ali and Saad Ali make their debuts.
Pakistan (potential): 1 Imam-ul-Haq, 2 Shan Masood/Abid Ali, three Umar Akmal, Four Haris Sohail, 5 Shoaib Malik (capt), 6 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 7 Imad Wasim, eight Mohammad Amir 9 Yasir Shah, 10 Usman Shinwari, 11 Mohammad Hasnain
Australia might want to substitute Jhye Richardson. They could go for the protection of Pat Cummins, or give one in every of Jason Behrendorff or Kane Richardson some recreation time
Australia (potential): 1 Usman Khawaja 2 Aaron Finch (capt) three Peter Handscomb Four Shaun Marsh 5 Marcus Stoinis 6 Glenn Maxwell 7 Alex Carey (wk) eight Pat Cummins/Jason Behrendorff/Kane Richardson 9 Nathan Coulter-Nile 10 Nathan Lyon 11 Adam Zampa
Pitch and situations
Spin is anticipated to play an vital function in Abu Dhabi, too, with each groups more likely to go for two spinners. The climate will probably be overcast, however rain is unlikely to play any half.
Stats and trivia
- Australia have gained 10 of the final 11 ODIs they’ve performed towards Pakistan. The one loss got here on the MCG in a five-match collection in 2017 that Australia gained Four-1.
- If Usman Khawaja scores greater than two runs, he’ll overtake Virat Kohli to develop into the main ODI scorer in 2019.
- Half of Yasir Shah’s 20 ODI wickets have are available in simply two matches, a four-wicket haul towards Sri Lanka and a six-wicket haul versus Zimbabwe.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000
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