ADELAIDE          -         After going down by an innings and five runs in the series opener, Pakistan would hope to rediscover the winning touch in the day/night affair against Australia at the Adelaide Oval, starting today (Friday).

Having played five day/night Tests so far, one each against New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, England, and Sri Lanka, Australia are the most experienced side in pink-ball cricket. They have emerged victorious in each of those five Tests at home and would hope to keep their unbeaten streak intact when they face Pakistan in such a contest for the second time, in Adelaide. The pink ball is known to assist pacers, and in the past, the Australian fast bowlers have proved this fact with conviction. With 26 scalps to his name, Mitchell Starc is the most successful bowler with the pink cherry, followed by Josh Hazlewood with 21 wickets.

However, among the top five wicket-takers with the pink ball are two world-class bowlers: Pakistan’s Yasir Shah (18) and Australia’s Nathan Lyon (17), who prove that even the spinners have a vital role to play in day/night contests. The two experienced spinners are most likely to feature in the Adelaide Test, and would make for an engaging battle.

Australia were dominant with both bat and ball in the Gabba Test, and would look to repeat their collective performance in the next game. As for Pakistan, it would be interesting to see how their young pace attack fares with the pink ball. They need improvement in their batting department. Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, and Mohammad Rizwan were the only batsmen from the Pakistan side to make fifty-plus scores. Their skipper Azhar Ali, who only made 39 and 5 in the previous Test, could play a key role. His performances against the pink-ball have been impressive; he is the highest run-getter with 456 runs, including a brilliant 302*, while Steve Smith is second on the list with 405 runs.

Australia were at the top of their game from day one. Batting first, Pakistan got off to a steady start but once Pat Cummins broke the opening stand, the visitors lost wickets at an alarming rate. From 75/0, Pakistan were reduced to 94/5 in no time before Asad Shafiq took control of the proceedings for a while, but that resistance didn’t last for long. He made a fighting 134-ball 76, guiding his team to a first-innings total of 240. In response, Australia openers David Warner (154) and Joe Burns (97) made the Pakistan bowlers toil. Both played exceptionally well before Australia were bowled out for 580.

In their second outing with the bat, Azam top-scored with 104 while opener Shan Masood (42) and Rizwan (95) made useful contributions, before a Hazlewood-led attack bowled Pakistan out for 335 on the fourth day. The forecast doesn’t look promising with more than 70 percent chance of rain in the next three days, with a slightly lesser chance on the final two days. Play is likely to get interrupted for a couple of hours due to bad weather conditions.

Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali said during a pre-match press conference that the team is in high spirits for the second Test as there are many positives from the lost game in Brisbane, claiming the team can draw the series through a win, if it performs like it did on the third and fourth day of the first Test.

He said fast bowler Muhammad Abbas would play after he had regained desired rhythm. He said Muhammad Abbas is a seasoned campaigner who bowls with lots of control and would help team stop flow

of runs, adding that the experienced fast bowler had lot

more to offer.

About Naseem Shah, he said: “Talent wise, Naseem belongs here but he is only 16 and has a young body. We want to manage his skills carefully so that he could play and serve Pakistan cricket long. “Unfortunately, the last couple of weeks have not been good for him due to his personal loss but the good things is that whenever he came to bowl he bowled with pace and ferocity in the first Test at Brisbane,” he added.


AUSTRALIA: David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (capt & wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

PAKISTAN: Shan Masood, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali (capt), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah/Muhammad Musa.