Pakistan thrashed Australia by 373 runs in the second and final match of their two-Test series in Abu Dhabi on Friday, and snapped a two-year winless run in the UAE. Here are our five takeaways from the series.
1- A star is born
Forget Pakistan, this Test series was all about just one man: Mohammad Abbas. For a seamer to take 17 wickets in a two-Test series is remarkable anywhere in the world, but to do it on dead UAE pitches is unheard of. Abbas did just that and was deservedly named the both the man of the match and the series.
It’s no surprise then that the cricketing royalty is lavishing with him praises. A star is born ladies and gentlemen.
2- Pakistan bounce back after Asia Cup debacle
While Abbas outperformed everyone by a country mile, team Pakistan also deserves credit for bouncing back after the Asia Cup debacle. Granted that this Australian side wasn’t anything special — actually they were horrible — but you can always rely on Sarfraz’s men to make an average team stand out.
However, from the series’ opening session, it was clear that Pakistan were clearly the better side, and this time they made their edge on the paper also translate into advantage on the field. Yes, they sort of bungled the opening Test, but all is well that ends well. The series ended on a positive note so let’s serve our boys carrots and not sticks.
3- Horrendous Australia can’t wait for key batters to come back
While Sarfraz Ahmed’s men looked good, their opposition — a historically proud cricketing nation — were a shadow of themselves. This was arguably the weakest Australian side ever assembled, and the result is no less deserving of what they got; they actually overperformed by not losing 2-0.
They landed in the desert with Nathan Lyon their only hope, and when an Aussie side is relying on an orthodox off-spinner, you know things are not right. While their bowling at least had some hope, their batting did not even have that. For Australia’s sake, let’s hope Steve Smith and David Warner come back soon.
4- End of the road for Wahab Riaz?
Almost everyone who played for Pakistan in the series made themselves useful except for Wahab Riaz. The left-arm (only) quick went wicketless in the first Test before being dropped for the second. He’s 33, his pace is one the wane, he never was the most cerebral bowler while the coach has publicly admitted he doesn’t rate him.
Ahead of a busy, almost 8-months of nonstop cricket, it was required of Wahab to show that he still has something left in the tank. His showing in the first Test demonstrated that not only is Wahab’s tank bone dry, it has a crack that means his bid for a place in the side can never hold water. This should be curtains for his international career.
5- Home dominance continues
Apart from a session here and there, a visiting team was once again not able to match the home advantage of the hosts. In cricket, the home side arguably enjoys the greatest edge of any other sport.
This worrying trend has made the sport a bit too predictable and is sucking the fun out of it, one series at a time. Governing bodies should address this.
Originally Published on Dawn.com by Kumail Zaidi (Kumail Zaidi is a cricket aficionado based in Karachi.)