The Newsroom previews the first test between Australia and Pakistan at Dubai, UAE.
Australia v Pakistan
October 22-26, 2014
Team Status: It is a test match where Australia has to battle against two opponents for five days. Number one will be Pakistan, who will try hard to end their loosing streak in the series. Number two will be the famous Dubai heat. With possible 36 degree temperatures on the line for today, the Aussies have to make sure it does not affect their stamina. The pitch condition would likely force them to play with two spinners. That means Steve O’Keefe will wear the baggy green cap alongside Mitchell Marsh who has just returned from a hamstring injury. Michael Clarke is back to lead the side while Peter Siddle is also making a comeback after being dropped from the South Africa series.
Pakistan on the other hand has found some sort of confidence from the practice match where they beat Australia with some terrific reverse swing bowling. Their record in the recent matches, though, will not even influence the fixture very much. The absence of Ajmal in the team means more responsibility will fall on the fast bowlers. But the side is more worried about their current batting form. The inclusion of the experienced Younis Khan, who was terrified after being dropped from the one day side, might steady their middle order. This is what Pakistan would love to have in the middle – poise.
Players to Watch: In absence of Watson, Alex Doolan is currently playing in the number three spot for the Australians. He is yet to make an impact in his three match career so far and he needs to do it as soon as possible to give the team management a real headache. As Watson continues to gain fitness, this series might be the last opportunity for Dools.
Younis Khan is a player with solid technique and Pakistan need that badly. His current clash with Pakistan Cricket Board for not being in the one day team was heavily publicised and many people criticised him for his open speech against the board. It would be a fine battle if he could answer his critics with his bat.
Match Prediction: Australia should be the favorite to win this match but they will have to earn it.
– Md Zahin
Top photo from Bernd Ploderer’s Flickr photostream.