Cricket Tips & Preview – Pakistan V Australia (2nd Test)

WILL EVANS charges down the wicket with cricket tips for the second Test between Pakistan and Australia in Rawalpindi in Karachi after a series-opening fizzer.

16:00 (AEDT), Sat 12th Mar @ National Stadium, Karachi

History: Played 67: Australia 33 V Pakistan 15 (19 Draws)

Last meeting: March 4-8, 2022: Draw at Pindi Cricket Stadium

Final Thoughts: Pakistan and Australia reconvene in Karachi just four days after completing one of the most dour Test matches in recent memory in Rawalpindi.

A result never looked likely on a lifeless pitch, with just 14 wickets falling across five days of insomnia-curing cricket.

Pakistan batted for almost the entire first two days before declaring at 4/476. Azhar Ali (185) and Imam-ul-Haq (157) scored big and produced a 208-run partnership. Nathan Lyon (1/161) toiled for 52 overs, while Pat Cummins (1/62) and Marnus Labuschagne (1/53) were the other wicket-takers as Australia’s decision to pick only one specialist spinner back-fired.

Australia made 459 in reply. Usman Khawaja (97) fell agonisingly short of a century in his birth country, while Labuschagne (90), David Warner (68) and Steve Smith (78) missed out on an opportunity to go on and make triple-figures. Cameron Green made 48 to solidify his position at No.6.

Left-arm spinner Nauman Ali took 6/107, while Shaheen Afridi (2/88) was the pick of the quicks.

It was day five by the time Pakistan went out to bat again and they finished on 252 without loss, Abudullah Shafique (136 not out) and Imam-ul-Haq (111) cashing in with centuries.

Australia consider spin addition

The only potential change for Australia sees leggie Mitchell Swepson come into contention for a Test debut. Either Josh Hazlewood or Mitchell Starc would drop out of the line-up.

But long-serving understudy Swepson has played just six first-class matches in the past 18 months.

A change-up in approach is certainly required to negate Pakistan’s top order, who looked comfortable and confident. Captain Babar Azam will be eager to get amongst the runs after getting out for 36 in the first innings. As will Travis Head (8), the only Australian batter to fail.

Karachi capers 

Pakistan are $2.38 favourites to get the win and put one hand on the newly-struck Benaud-Qadir Trophy after performing considerably better in the tame series opener. A draw at $3.40 would seem the value option in the match result stakes, however.

Australia have a significant hoodoo to overcome, having never won a Test in Karachi. Pakistan have won five of the eight Tests against Australia at this venue, with three drawn. Meanwhile, Pakistan have lost only two of 43 Tests at the National Stadium. Since the country’s return as an international cricketing destination just over two years ago, Pakistan have beaten Sri Lanka (263 runs) and South Africa (7 wickets) in Karachi.

Smith got out to a rash shot in Rawalpindi but otherwise looked good. He’ll be fired up to snap his 12-innings Test century drought.

Tip: Top Australia Batter – Steve Smith @ $3.80