Thirty minutes, eight overs, eight runs, five wickets. That’s how the chaos unfolded as Pakistan powered to a crushing 356-run win over Australia in the second Test at Abu Dhabi, destroying the tourists’ tail after lunch on day 5.
Steve Smith and Mitchell Marsh resumed with Australia in a virtually hopeless position at 4-143 in pursuit of 603, with an entire day to bat out to hang on for a draw.
But by lunch on the final day, only Marsh (47) had succumbed; Smith had advanced to 97 and brave Brad Haddin, hampered by a shoulder injury, was holding down the other end.
The rearguard action unravelled in the space of eight overs after the resumption, however. Yasir Shah trapped Smith lbw with the second ball after lunch, while Zulfiqar Babar bowled Haddin next over. Mitchell Johnson finished the match with a pair, facing just seven deliveries before being bowled by Yasir.
Australia was all of a sudden eight men down without having added to their first session score. After a few overs of futile resistance, Yasir bowled Mitchell Starc and Zulfiqar completed a five-for when Azhar Ali caught Nathan Lyon in close.
Pakistan’s triumph could have hardly been more comprehensive, while many – including captain Misbah-ul-Haq and former skipper Ramiz Raja – described it as the nation’s greatest-ever series win.
The victors climbed to No.3 in the world Test rankings, and – if they can find similar form further abroad – Pakistan could be on the cusp of a new golden age, burying the painful memories of match-fixing scandals that have plagued the national side in recent years.
Stud of the day
Zulfiqar Babar did most of the crucial damage during the last session of day 4, dismissing three members of the Australian top order, but he nabbed the wickets of Haddin and last man out Lyon to secure a much-deserved five-wicket bag – his second of the series. He bowled 57.3 of Pakistan’s 155.5 overs in the match.
Stud of the match
Who else but Misbah-ul-Haq? The skipper’s record-smashing innings – hitting the fastest-ever Test 50 and equalling Viv Richards’ mark for the quickest Test century – will live long in the memory of anyone who was fortunate enough to witness it.
Stud of the series
What an inspiring narrative Younis Khan crafted during the series. Dropped from the one-day side recently, Younis smashed a century in each innings in Dubai, before plundering a double-ton in Abu Dhabi, finishing with a series average of 156. Remarkable.
Australia has only a couple of weeks to regroup from this humiliating defeat before they take on India. Crucially, they will be back on their home decks – but there is plenty of work to do to make up the ground they’ve lost in a disastrous fortnight in the UAE.
Pakistan plays New Zealand in the UAE next, and the Black Caps could be forgiven for being more than a little nervous, despite their Test and ODI heroics at home against the West Indies and India last summer.
- Pakistan scored 1603 runs in the series; Australia scored 1026.
- Pakistan took 40 wickets in the series; Australia took 21, with Pakistan declaring in three of their four innings.
- Pakistan’s players scored nine centuries; David Warner posted Australia’s sole ton.