Pakistan lost at Brisbane and it is nothing new…..
For more than two decades or so, a Pakistan tour to Australia has been nothing but a mere formality. The men in Green would land on Australian soil only to be humiliated time and again and leave the shore without learning how to improve performance in Australia. The same story seems to repeat and none knows when will this end. As usual, the expectations remain low because the fans know, their team would either dish out some brilliant individual displays or would lose from a winning position.
The last time Pakistan started as one of the favourites to challenge the might of Australia at Brisbane was way back in 1999 when a brilliant Pakistani team under Wasim Akram faced Steve Waugh’s men with the intent to take the revenge of defeat of World Cup Final at Lord’s. Pakistan’s start in the first innings was encouraging. But as soon as Australia came out to bat, Wasim, Shoaib Akhtar, Abdul Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood, and Mushtaq Ahmed were treated like schoolboys. They lost miserably. Pakistan are yet to win a Test at Brisbane.
Encouraging starts and then undermining them is one of Pakistan’s old habits, which they don’t wish to change. The majority glorify such things as unpredictability and capriciousness, but such qualities might make a team exciting to watch, but never, ever help to reach the top.
Azhar Ali and Shan Masood’s grittiness should have been helped Pakistan batsmen to build big in first innings, but what happened, after all, was a typical collapse, which was due to the inability to cope with the extra-bounce of Australian pitches. The Pakistani middle-order batsmen should have focused on leaving the deliveries more rather than poking at those, which were leaving the bodies. Occupying the crease is not a tough task if one wishes to. Rather, attempting to execute shots with limited-abilities is more difficult.
Pakistan capitulated badly in the first innings and the hopes ended already on Day 1.
Steve Smith failed and he was Yasir Shah’s seventh victim, but that record did not help at all as Australia pummelled the Pakistani attack mercilessly. Pakistan’s second innings was all about whether the visitors could escape an innings defeat or not. They fell short by five runs. Day 4 witnessed the individual flashes of brilliance of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, which would help to console their fans, but in the end, it was the same old story.
The second Test at Adelaide would be a Day-Nighter! How dangerous the pink ball can be at Adelaide during the twilight, the Pakistanis know it very well. With such a limited technique, it would be an uphill task for their batters to cope with the guile of Australian pacers. But at least Pakistan can get the combination right. They should not have ignored the incisiveness of Mohammad Abbas at Brisbane, who has been the go-to-man of Pakistan for the last couple of years. How badly he has lost his majestic-touch remains a moot question.
At times, such bowlers do rediscover themselves while playing the main matches. Perhaps, Abbas might have rediscovered himself at Brisbane. So, let him play at Adelaide, where the pink ball can aid to boost is confidence.