Pak­istan can bounce back against new-look Aussies

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Pak­istan cap­tain Mis­bah-ul-Haq be­lieves it can bounce back from its 2-0 loss in New Zealand when it takes on a new-look Aus­tralia in a three-test se­ries next month.

“Aus­tralia is not a set­tled team, and they have made changes in the last (test) match (against South Africa),” Mis­bah said in La­hore yes­ter­day. “Their new play­ers are fa­mil­iar with their own con­di­tions, but at the same time when some­one comes new into test matches, you have a chance to ex­ploit it.”

Aus­tralia avoided be­ing white­washed by South Africa as new caps Matt Ren­shaw, Peter Hand­scomb, and Nic Maddin­son won the day-night third test in Ade­laide last weekend. Mis­bah re­turned home after los­ing the first test in Christchurch be­cause of the death of his father-in-law. He would have missed the se­cond test in Hamil­ton any­way, be­cause he was handed a one-match sus­pen­sion for an­other slow over-rate. He will re­join the team be­fore the first day-night Test in Bris­bane on Dec. 15.

Pak­istan’s top or­der strug­gled in seam­ing con­di­tions in New Zealand. They lost nine wick­ets in the last ses­sion in Hamil­ton to lose by 138 runs. Only opener Sami As­lam and Babar Azam scored half-cen­turies in four test in­nings. How­ever, Pak­istan kept faith in the same 16-man squad for the three tests against Aus­tralia.

“Con­di­tions were dif­fi­cult in New Zealand with plenty of grass on both wick­ets,” Mis­bah said. “But I be­lieve wick­ets will be bet­ter in Aus­tralia, and this team has the ca­pa­bil­ity to make a come­back.”

Pak­istan, which rose to No. 1 in the test rank­ings, slipped to No. 4 after los­ing in New Zealand. But Mis­bah said Pak­istan wasn’t sud­denly a bad team.

“In one se­ries, if your bowlers or bats­men do not per­form, you can’t say it’s not a good team,”

he said. “We have been tak­ing 20 wick­ets (in a test match) in UAE, and I hope the play­ers have learnt their lessons in New Zealand.”

The 42-year-old Mis­bah, who has al­ready quit ODIs and Twen­ty20s for Pak­istan, has no im­me­di­ate plans to quit tests, and said as long as he stayed fit and the team needed him he will play on. “The team’s con­fi­dence level has come down with the re­cent per­for­mances in New Zealand. I am fo­cus­ing on the Aus­tralian se­ries and rais­ing the level of the team and re­gain­ing the con­fi­dence of play­ers.

“I have said be­fore, you don’t know what hap­pens to­mor­row, but I have no fit­ness prob­lem and hope to play as long as I stay fit. If I felt the team still needs me and I stay fit, I will con­tinue play­ing.” —AP

Mis­bah-ul-Haq

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