Pakistan have clinched the test series, 1-0, against Australia after beating them by a staggering 373 runs at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
The fourth day of the test started with Pakistan needing 9 wickets to win the match with Australia being 500 runs behind the target. The visitors’ condition went from bad to worse when they learnt Usman Khawaja can’t come to bat in the second innings after suffering an injury while fielding.
Aaron Finch and Travis Head came to out the crease to continue the Australian innings. The two batsmen tried to soak in all the pressure from the Pakistani bowlers from the start. Head was successful in finding the ropes in regular intervals. But Mohammad Abbas, who had been in prime form in the series, was successful in breaking the partnership again. He picked up Head for 36. Abbas again proved to be the nemesis for the Aussies. He dismissed both Finch and Mitchell Marsh in two overs to reduce Australia to 78-4.
It became 78-5 in three deliveries when Abbas scalped his fourth victim of the innings. He cleaned up Aussie captain Tim Paine for a nought and sent half of the batting side back to the pavilion. Marcus Labuschagne and Mitchell Starc looked to construct a slow partnership as they looked to steady the Australian innings. The duo added 67 runs for the sixth wicket before Yasir Shah got the better of Starc. Shah was again successful in his next over. This time it was Peter Siddle who was wrapped on the pads straight in front of the wickets as the visitors lost their seventh wicket for 151.
There was no denying Mohammad Abbas had his moment of glory. The right arm fast bowler picked up his 5th wicket of the innings and 10th of the test match when Rizwan caught Labuschagne’s mistimed shot. Pakistan got the taste of the victory when Haris Sohail caught of Yasir Shah’s bowling to dismiss Jon Holland and end the Australian innings for 164 runs.
This has been a dominant performance by Pakistan. Many had questioned Sarfraz Khan’s tactics and form when Pakistan were not able to bowl out Australia in the first test match despite bowling 140 overs. Sarfraz was brilliant both with his bat and tactics and has successfully slammed his critics. For Tim Paine and his men, the defeat comes as a timely reminder that Australia no longer have the fear factor in them. They have been humbled and that too quite easily. The batsmen have had no answer to Mohammad Abbas throughout the tournament. Mitchell Starc might again sit on the sidelines fearing an injury concern. The series now moves to the shortest format of the game. The first T20I takes place on the 24th of this month. Australia would definitely try to forget the ghosts of the test series and make a resounding comeback in white ball cricket.
Pakistan 1st innings: 282-10 (81.0 o.)
Fakhar Zaman: 94
Sarfraz Khan: 94
Nathan Lyon: 27-5-78-4
Australia 1st innings: 145-10 (50.4 o.)
Aaron Finch: 39
Mitchell Starc: 34
Mohammad Abbas: 12.4-4-33-5
Pakistan 2nd innings: 400-9 dec. (120.0 o.)
Babar Azam: 99
Sarfraz Khan: 81
Nathan Lyon: 43-8-135-4
Australia 2nd innings: 164-10 (49.4 o.)
Marcus Labuschagne: 43
Travis Head: 36
Mohammad Abbas: 17-2-62-5