Australia vs Pakistan 2019: How a young Pakistan brigade was humbled Down Under
It's not surprising that a team that has never won a series in Australia, failed to do so again. Still, the margin of defeat in both Test matches would be difficult to digest for Pakistan fans.
There were sparks in terms of individual performances from Babar Azam and Yasir Shah, and the raw pace of Naseem Shah was impressive, but overall Australia dominated Pakistan in every department to seal a comfortable 2-0 series win.
David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne decimated the Pakistan bowling attack in both matches, with the former going on to score a magical triple hundred in the second Test. Thanks to this pair and some support from the likes of Joe Burns, Australia only needed to bat once in each match before letting their bowlers finish the job.
Rather than their poor batting performance, it was the bowling that let Pakistan down more. You could blame it on inexperience, but there was a sense of flatness in all the bowlers, despite a few exciting overs from Naseem Shah.
Many commentators including Ricky Ponting pointed out that this was the worst Pakistan bowling attack to ever step foot in Australia.
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Australia, in comparison to South Africa and England, is a tougher place to bowl in. There is assistance for the bowlers but the pitches tend to flatten out, and that's where you need experienced bowlers.
The Australian bowling was miles ahead of this young Pakistan attack, which lacked the knowledge of where to pitch the ball consistently.
.The team selection was also questionable. In the first Test they went without their most experienced fast bowler, Mohammed Abbas, and then in the second Test they took out their most exciting bowler, citing workload management as the reason. If you have selected a player at the age of 16, you have to back him after already giving him a debut; workload management is not necessary in a two-Test series.
Shaheen Shah Afridi picked up a few wickets in the second match but apart from him, no one looked like troubling the Aussie batsmen. Yasir Shah had a brilliant series with the bat, but his job is to pick wickets and he had a terrible time with the ball, getting hit for 200-plus runs on both occasions.
Apart from Babar Azam, none of the top order batsmen looked comfortable; the extra pace and bounce really rattled them. The likes of Shan Masood and Asad Shafiq need to learn from their experiences and ensure that they convert their starts into big scores, especially in day-night matches, as wickets can tumble during the twilight period.
Plenty has been spoken about Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir's premature retirement, but the selectors, or Misbah ul Haq in this case, have to ensure that this young group of players are nurtured and backed to the fullest. There is potential in this team, but they need to find the right balance and improve their mental strength if they want to compete against the best at the Test level.
Yasir Shah and Babar Azam's hundreds in the series showed that they are capable of fighting, but they need to be more consistent. After a solid start in the first session of the series, the batting capitulated and from then on Australia had a stranglehold throughout.
The hosts bowled well in the series and they hunted in pairs, but they would have liked to wipe out the tail quicker in one or two innings. Pat Cummins bowled with accuracy, Josh Hazlewood was nagging outside the off stump with the odd ball coming in, and Mitchell Starc produced some lethal wicket-taking deliveries. Nathan Lyon showed his class in Adelaide and his patience was rewarded with a five-for in the last innings of the series.
All in all, it was a thoroughly one-sided series that never looked like going down the wire. Australia would want to take this momentum into the New Zealand series, while Pakistan have to go back to the drawing board and ensure that they put up an improved performance against Sri Lanka at home.