Australia to follow Mohammad Abbas’ game-plan with Mitchell Starc for 2nd Test against Pakistan

Starc bowled over 40 overs in the 1st Test but was rewarded with just one wicket.

Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Australia have decided to follow the blueprint employed for Pakistan pacer Mohammad Abbas for the second Test in Abu Dhabi which gets underway on Tuesday. The visitors enforced a draw in the first Test at Dubai after Pakistan had them on the ropes. Usman Khawaja‘s gritty knock and resilience from skipper Tim Paine meant what should have otherwise been an easy victory eluded Sarfraz Ahmed’s side.

However, the Australians were made to, quite literally, sweat for the draw. In the desert heat with temperatures soaring, Tim Paine’s inexperienced side was forced to field for more than a day and a half at the outset. The pacers, in particular, were drained out.


Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle bowled as many as 74.2 overs between them over the span of two innings. Starc himself bowled over 40 overs but was rewarded with just one wicket as he battled cramps and testing conditions for pace bowling, shortly after returning from injury.

However, the ploy used by Pakistan was rather different. Indeed their spinners stole the spotlight, but paceman Mohammad Abbas stood out among the quick bowlers with seven wickets during the course of the Test match. Australia have hence taken note of the areas where Abbas pitched his deliveries and the fields that were set for him, especially when the ball was reversing.

Abbas not fast but consistent: Mitchell Starc

Speaking to, Starc said, “(We were) taking notice of some of their field placements, particularly Abbas when he was getting that ball to reverse. He’s very consistent and he bowled really well in the first innings, was pretty successful and again in the second innings. Obviously he’s not very fast but he’s very consistent in where he was putting the ball and challenging our defence all the time.”

“Some of the fields they had to the quicks when it was reversing we took notice of. He was very consistent and patient over where he was bowling and waited for the batsmen to make errors. We were pretty good for the most part, we stuck to our plans (but) it’s definitely something we can take out of the way he approached his fast bowling,” he added.

Australia’s captain Tim Paine will be left with a headache about whether to rest Starc, especially considering that Australia have to take on the no.1 Test side India at home in December. Furthermore, Starc will be instrumental in Australia’s World Cup and Ashes defence next year. That being said, Paine has mentioned that he is unsatisfied by the draw, and will chase a series win in Abu Dhabi, in which case he will need the services of his spearhead pacer.

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