And so the inevitable came to pass. There was no real resistance from the Pakistan batsmen on a pitch that was very similar to what they have been batting on previously. It was a very listless performance by a team that came to these shores with a reputation for being tough and being able to apply themselves for long periods of time.
This was the team that was given the best chance of beating Australia in Australia and yet it has performed the worst. In 3 games, out of a total of 60 wickets they have been only able to take 33. Granted, that Australia produced some nice roads for batsmen to get their averages high up, but there was some very unimaginative captaincy and brainless bowling that followed. Australia in the final test scored at 7 runs an over. And this allowed them to post up big targets in a fraction of the time it would normally take them to do so and then put Pakistan back in.
There was a serious lack of application from the batsmen on this tour. Misbah blamed his bowlers for the series loss, but the batsmen could have saved almost every game. None of the wickets that the games were played on really deteoriated to an extent where the pitch presented problems to batting. Most of the dismissals were all bought about by the batsmen themselves. Time and time again, wickets were gifted away.
A special mention to Hazelwood who was the standout bowler throughout the series, he bowled with good pace, seamed the ball in (just ask Babar Azam, who once again had no clue to the ball that comes back in) and bowled a tight line, allowing Starc to bowl as fast as he could from the other end, without worrying about runs. Can’t take anything away from him, he bowled long spells, was economical and still looked threatening in all innings.
There were some good positive points, almost all of them for the batting. Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq were really good. I just wish that some of the other batsmen would have applied themselves and made some big scores.
Perhaps it’s the kind of tour/with hard knocks that brings about the better out of a team. It’s happened previously when Pakistan toured in 1999. They won multiple series afterwards. Tours to Australia do make you harder and stronger afterwards, but this wasn’t that kind of tour. If anyone didn’t know how mentally based cricket is as a game should just look at this series. Pakistan believed that they couldn’t win and they didn’t. Australia believed that they would and they did.
The one day series promises to be a run glut as well. I am fully expecting Australia to make some more roads where it will be impossible to get Warner and Smith out, there will boundaries and sixes galore and then Pakistan will implode all over again.
But as Martin Luther King said so famously, “I have a dream!” and so I too have a dream that one day, Pakistan will not be scared of batting sensibly and be able to chase down big targets. Take some lessons from across the border where no total seems safe.