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Opinion

Nine talking points before the second Test

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Roar Guru
27th November, 2019
42

Any time a team wins a Test by an innings, it’s safe to say that victory was resounding.

Australia will go into the second Test full of confidence. Pakistan, on the other hand, have plenty to consider before they announce their team.

Many consider this next Test almost a formality, but will that be the case?

Let’s not get too carried away
The Pakistan attack was probably the most inexperienced to hit our shores in the past 50 or 60 years at least. They are also the seventh ranked team in world cricket and had not played a Test match in nearly ten months. They will be a far better team having played that first Test. If Australia gets complacent and Pakistan gets an advantage, they could well spring a surprise.

Pakistan were not that bad
Their openers showed great heart in the first session on Day 1, when the ball was moving around and their bowlers never gave up trying, even though they had to bowl nearly 158 overs in trying conditions. They also made 335, which is a pretty good effort against the best attack Australia could field.

Pakistan could be formidable with the bat
If they can get the order to click at the same time, both Shan Masood and Azhar Ali showed good signs at the top of the order, while Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan all held up the vaunted Australian attack.

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Tactics and team selections are hurting Pakistan
Azhar Ali only just took on the captaincy and even to an untrained eye, his field placements were perplexing. Mohammad Abbas must play in Adelaide and Ali needs to think about his batting line-up, maybe moving Ul-Haq to three and taking more advice from guys like Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram about field placements and bowling changes. At least, he needs his quicks to go around the wicket to David Warner from ball one.

This is a day/night Test
Yes, it’s stating the bleeding obvious, but the ball is likely to move around considerably more than it did in Brisbane. The Australian batting order looked good in their only innings but if Abbas plays, this could be a whole new ball game. It will also be interesting to see what Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi can do if the ball moves. They could be a real handful, bowling 140 plus.

Shaheen Shah Afridi of Pakistan

(AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

No changes are needed for Australia
Who should be dropped? Certainly not Mitchell Starc, and the batsmen all did enough to warrant another Test or more.

Australia needs to produce more of the same
The Australian side showed clear, positive intent in that first Test and worked hard for four days. They need to do the same again. Warner and Joe Burns need to set the tone for the innings, Marnus Labuschagne needs to prove that first innings was no fluke while the other guys – especially Travis Head – need to value their wicket and look to bat positively for a long time.

Do we really need the chirp?
It’s great to hear plenty of encouragement from the Aussie players, but the chirping from Tim Paine is painful after a while. It’s starting to seem a lot like the banter that was going on prior to the sandpaper incident in South Africa and that’s certainly a place Australian cricket should not want to revisit. Encouragement is great, but let’s not go over the top with the sledging.

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It’d be nice to see Garry take a bag
Nathan Lyon has obviously had a tough time of it with the ball in the latter part of the Ashes series and into the first part of the Australian summer. It’s not that he’s bowling badly, he’s simply not getting any wickets. Hopefully that all changes in Adelaide and he gets five-for.

Finally, there will be a decent crowd for this Test. Both sides have shown they can play some very attractive cricket and a game starting on a Friday afternoon should bring people into the ground. Australia will be short-priced favourites to win, but a day/night game, a more spicy pitch and a better effort from Pakistan could turn this game into a real contest.