ABU DHABI (Reuters) – The leaden-footed Australians found themselves bamboozled by Pakistan’s wily spinners and their trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand can expect similar treatment from Misbah-ul-Haq and his men in a three-test series starting in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar (14) and leggie Yasir Shah (12) shared 26 of the 40 Australian wickets between them to help Pakistan secure a comprehensive 2-0 win on the slow, turning wickets in the United Arab Emirates last week.
By retaining the same 16 who gave them their first test series victory over Australia in 20 years, Pakistan have suggested they would employ the same tried-and-tested formula against the Brendon McCullum-led Black Caps.
“No changes have been made to the side that won the second test against Australia. This is to ensure there is consistency, which will bring more stability and strengthen team bonding and combination,” chief selector Moin Khan said.
The slow nature of tracks in the UAE negated much of the threat posed by Australian pacemen, including Ashes hero Mitchell Johnson, while run-machine Younus Khan and his nimble-footed batting colleagues milked the touring spinners dry. Australia’s specialist slow bowler Nathan Lyon bled 422 runs for his three wickets in the series that saw Younus hit two centuries and a double ton while Misbah and top order batsman Azhar Ali hit hundreds in both innings of the Abu Dhabi test.
Misbah also equalled West Indies great Viv Richards’s fastest test century record by blasting his second hundred in 56 balls in the Abu Dhabi contest.