Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test, Preview: Rare chance for Tim Paine's men to bask in glory

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test, Preview: Rare chance for Tim Paine’s men to bask in glory

The pressure will be on Pakistan as they are expected to win.

Australia
Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Many had written off Australia before the two-match Test series began saying that Pakistan will once again annihilate them in their fortress. Not this time. The series is still level going into the second and final Test and the visitors have a realistic chance of winning the series now in Abu Dhabi. The Australian batsmen showed real character in batting out close 140 overs on the final day of the first Test and will have to put their best foot forward to beat this Pakistan team now.

Sarfraz Ahmed must still be ruing the lost chance of taking the lead which most of them expected going into the fifth day last week. But the team has to forget it and start all over again. Abu Dhabi will definitely assist spinners more according to its history and the possibility of them playing three specialist spinners cannot be ruled out. More than anything, their home record will be at stake which is likely to bring the best out of Pakistan.

Tim Paine, however, will be elated with all the praise coming his team’s way. But even he knows that they were completely outplayed for the major parts of the match. In the post-match presentation, Paine wasn’t much pleased with the fact that they had to fight for a draw instead of win. But yes, the team’s confidence will be sky high after that performance and if they manage to put up a decent first innings total, the decider will go down the wire.

Team Combinations

Pakistan

Pakistan have already announced the 12-man squad for the second Test. They’ve dropped Wahab Riaz and had to leave out Imam-ul-Haq due to injury. Shadab Khan is fit and is back in the mix while Fakhar Zaman is set to make his Test debut. Mir Hamza might also get a game ahead of Shadab if the pitch is like the first Test. The remainder of the line-up will be the same and the onus will once again be on the top-order to score big.

Probable XI: Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c & wk), Bilal Asif, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Shadab Khan/Mir Hamza

Australia

Australia have gone against their culture of announcing the playing XI 24 hours before the Test match. However, Paine hinted at keeping the same team despite the coach Justin Langer was all about the managing the fast bowlers’ workload two days ahead of the Test. It will be interesting to see if any of the pacers will be benched and either of Brendon Doggett or Michale Neser are awarded a baggy green.

Probable XI: Usman Khawaja, Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Travis Head, Matt Renshaw/Marnus Labuschagne, Tim Paine (c & wk), Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Jon Holland

Focus will be on

Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan)

No wonder he will be under immense pressure. Fakhar Zaman comes into this Test match on the back of a poor show in the Asia Cup. Though his failures were in the ODIs, the left-hander has no momentum or confidence on his side to take into this game. Having said that, this is a great chance for him to show that he can also play the patient game and belongs to this level.

Shaun Marsh (Australia)

Shaun Marsh has time and again proved that he is a classy player. But his fans are frustrated now due to never-ending failures. This is yet another chance for him to show what he is capable of while batting at number three. If Shaun comes back in form, the Aussies will look a completely different side and who knows might go back home with a trophy in their hands.

Head to Head

Matches – 63 | Australia won – 31 | Pakistan won – 14 | Draw – 18

Stat Attack

50 – Mohammad Abbas needs only one wicket to become the second-fastest Pakistan bowler to achieve the feat.

Broadcast Details

TV – Sony ESPN

Live Streaming – Sony LIV

Match Timings – 11:30 IST; 10:00 local

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