Australian cricket hits new low in Asia

Aaron Finch made a lot of good starts but failed to grasp that big score. Picture: AP.
Aaron Finch made a lot of good starts but failed to grasp that big score. Picture: AP.

AUSTRALIA has dropped to fifth on the ICC World Test Rankings after a crushing 373-run loss to Pakistan.

The loss is Pakistan's biggest in terms of runs. The previous record was 356 runs against Australian in Abu Dhabi in 2014.

The win sees Pakistan stay in seventh in the World but Australia slide from third to fifth behind New Zealand.

Australia needed a miracle to chase the 537 needed to claim victory.

Starting the day at 1-47, Australia started well with Travis Head playing positively but Mohammad Abbas (5/62) ripped the heart out of the order with 4-7.

With the Australian's reeling at 5-78, Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Starc put on 67 but it wasn't enough, particularly with Usman Khawaja unable to bat after it was revealed he has a meniscal tear in his left knee.

No fast bowler has ever taken a 10 wicket match in the UAE, until Mohammad Abbas in this Test match.

He was also the player of the match and series after taking 17 wickets at an average of 10.58.

Mark Waugh said there were some positives but Australia just weren't in the match after the first morning.

Mitchell Starc plays a shot during the second Test. Picture: AFP
Mitchell Starc plays a shot during the second Test. Picture: AFP

"We had them 5-57 on the first day, we bowl them out for 180, we take a first innings lead we win the Test match, we win the series but Pakistan to their credit batted beautifully on that second session on the first day and never looked back," Waugh said.

"We never got into it after that. Our batting in both innings wasn't good enough. Our bowlers tried hard in pretty flat conditions.

"It's a bit of a letdown after we fought back so magnificently to draw, they'll be a disappointed camp the Aussie boys."

Former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee said Australia were beaten in every facet of the game.

Since the start of 2008, Australia have a terrible record in Asia.

Australian captain Tim Paine said the match was a missed opportunity.

"It's disappointing to have them 5/50 on day one and let that opportunity slip," he said in the trophy presentation.

"When you do that against good teams in Test cricket you pay the price and I thought they batted really well after that in the first innings, put us under pressure and we weren't up to the challenge with the bat.

"We came with high hopes of at least taking it into tomorrow. I thought in that last Test we showed that real fight that we want to be renowned for and unfortunately this Test we weren't able to back it up."

During the first session, legendary captain Allan Border said the Australian mentality was wrong as no batsmen seem to be able to bat through tough periods.

"We've got to recognise that a good period of play from the opposition and good spell of bowling," Border said.

"You've got to recognise that and sometimes you've got to just drop anchor and get into survival mode. Just have that period where you ride out the storm.

"A lot of the Australians are going hard at the ball and they're being taught to dominate and keep the scoreboard ticking over. Yes, that's fantastic ideally but sometimes it's just one of those situations where you've just got to play a dead bat, soft hands and take your licks of 15 to 20 minutes of inactivity but you're keeping your wickets intact and you're weathering out a good bowling spell.

"They're just not doing that at the moment, whether that's going back into the domestic competition and how we're taught to play."

Michael Hussey, who was also on commentary duty, agreed with Border's assessment and questioned why Australia were in such a hurry.

"It's a five day game, you don't necessarily have to win it in two to three days," he said.

"Your innings' generally do ebb and flow, individually and as a team. There are periods where the bowling team are on top, it's about recognising that and working your way through that as a team."

The huge loss could spell the end of several of the Australians in the lineup when Test cricket returns home.

Australia 145 and 155/9

Pakistan 282 and 9/400d

Pakistan win by 373 runs.


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