Former Australian captain Michael Clarke believes the best chance for Pakistan to defeat the visitors is by preparing spinning tracks. The Aussies' struggles in the subcontinent have been well documented in the recent past.
Skipper Pat Cummins has asserted that adjusting to the alien conditions in Pakistan will be key to success. The visitors are touring the Men in Green after a period of 24 years for an all-format tour. On the eve of the first Test, the Pindi Cricket Stadium boasted a dry, grassless surface.
Opining that the best way to defeat Australia is by preparing rank turners, Clarke said on the The Big Sports Breakfast:
“If Pakistan was smart, it’d be a raging turner. That’d risk it being over in three days and spinning from ball one. I don’t think they’ve [Pakistan] got the courage to do that but if they do, that’s the best way to beat Australia.”
“If they make it like India, where there is big, natural variation, inconsistent bounce and big spin, completely different game. Then Australia is in for a real dog fight.”
The Aussies drew 1-1 against Bangladesh, lost 2-1 against India and suffered a whitewash against Sri Lanka in their last three visits to the subcontinent.
"Australia will outplay them tactically" - Michael Clarke
Australia are visiting Pakistan on the back of an impressive Ashes campaign that culminated in their favor by a 4-0 margin. Clarke feels that the visitors are well-equipped to handle the challenges in Pakistan and primed them to succeed if the pitches are similar to the ones in the UAE. The former captain said:
“Australia will outplay them tactically and I think we’re too skilful with both reverse-swing [and] Nathan Lyon’s bowling and I think we’ll play spin OK if the wicket doesn’t turn, if it just skids on like the UAE.”
The Aussies have toured the UAE twice in recent times. They suffered heavy defeats across both tours in 2014 and 2018. With spin cited as an important factor, the visitors are likely to play with two spinners in the form of Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Swepson.
The Pakistan side are currently battling a fitness crisis ahead of the first Test. Babar Azam has already lost Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, and Mohammad Nawas from the squad due to COVID-19 and injuries.
The first Test between the two sides will begin later today (March 4) at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi.