Pakistan vs Australia 2018: Another day, another batting collapse
Australia's batting woes continued in the shorter format of the game too as they had a shocking collapse in the first T20 game against Pakistan in UAE. If Test series was a reminder of how much they missed the services of banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner in their batting lineup, this has come under more scrutiny considering the presence of T20 specialists in the side.
The miserable batting in three of the four innings during the Test series was an example of the rebuilding under captain Tim Paine and coach Justin Langer is a slow process. However, Langer may have expected a better show from the team especially with a new set of players in the T20s except for Finch.
It has been disappointing to see the batting failure of the top order and lose the match by 66 runs especially with a set of white ball specialists who had an excellent domestic season back in Australia. Finch was the first one to depart as Imad Wasim rattled his stumps. His opening partner D'Arcy Short who hit a double century in One-day Cup in Australia too was back in the pavilion in the same over.
It took only 32 balls for Pakistan to get the top six wickets which include the big names in T20 like Chris Lynn and Maxwell. The partnership between Agar and Coulter-Nile helped them post a better total on board which otherwise was a total failure from Aussies.
Where is the Australian batting line-up failing?
Let's consider the T20 game, no one except Aaron Finch carries the burden of the Test series defeat. All other ten players were coming with the confidence of excellent domestic performance. The bowlers have done well to restrict Pakistan to a decent total irrespective of the solid start which Babar Azam and Hafeez provided. Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, and Faheem Ashraf bowled well to keep things difficult for the batsmen.
The triangular series involving Australia, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe. Australia started well with a massive win led by Finch scoring a century. There was confidence in the new look team, though, Pakistan beat them twice including the final to win the series. It may be the spin bowling which Australia is not able to adapt to causing all the troubles for them.
Is the dressing room atmosphere and rebuilding of the team affecting the players?
The ball tampering incident in South Africa had hit the team in such a way that there was a call for change in culture, on-field and off-field behaviour of the team. Justin Langer has already emphasized the need of staying away from controversies to regain the respect from the public.
The actions of each player will be under scrutiny by the crowd and media in the current scenario. As professional players, they have the skills to handle all such things. However, this will add pressure to every player who will be part of the dressing room until they earn the public respect.
The coach may have plenty of mysteries to sort out in the batting department before they take the field for the next match in Dubai. The series is followed by India's tour of Australia which will be another testing period of this group of players.
One-off collapse from T20 team?
We can even consider this as a one-off collapse from the team which has all established white ball players. However, we may have to wait for the next couple of game to come to that conclusion. The individuals are regrouping after a while, and it may take a game or two get set.
Finch and Short may have to start well to provide a platform for the big hitters like Lynn and Maxwell. They may also have to look at a player who can play an anchor role in case of early wickets. The journey may not be easy for them with Australian cricket summer is just around the corner. It will impact their preparations for the World Cup next year as well. The process of rebuilding may take longer if the batting unit stumbles more often in the coming series.
Let's wait for the next couple of games in Dubai to see what happens - a powerful comeback or another collapse?