Pak­istan looks for­ward to red ball, hard MCG pitch

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Pak­istan bat­ting coach Grant Flower says his side is look­ing for­ward to a re­turn of the red ball and a hard Mel­bourne Cricket Ground pitch for the sec­ond Test against Aus­tralia begin­ning to­mor­row.

The visi­tors lost the day-night first test at the Gabba by 39 runs, hav­ing made a bold bid at a come-from-be­hind victory.

For­mer Zim­babwe star Flower be­lieves the Mel­bourne con­di­tions will give his side a bet­ter chance of tak­ing early wick­ets and ex­pos­ing Aus­tralia’s middle-order with re­verse swing.

“(The pitch) looks good. It looks hard. It’s go­ing to have good carry,” he said this week. “It’s go­ing to be hard work for the bowlers, but if we can get into them early and if the ball starts re­vers­ing then I’m sure we’ve got a good chance of mak­ing some things hap­pen.”

Flower also ex­pects the MCG pitch to ben­e­fit legspin­ner Yasir Shah, who was crit­i­cized by com­men­ta­tor and for­mer legspin great Shane Warne for bowl­ing too de­fen­sively in Brisbane.

“Hope­fully to­wards the end of the match, Yasir can come into it a bit more,” Flower said. “I’m sure if the ball is turn­ing a bit more, there will be more at­tack­ing lines bowled.” Aus­tralian bats­man Us­man Khawaja doubts that Pak­istan has the mo­men­tum af­ter its fourth-in­ning per­for­mance in Brisbane, nearly chas­ing down 490 runs. “I don’t think that matters - it’s a dif­fer­ent ground, dif­fer­ent con­di­tions, and you can’t re­ally mea­sure mo­men­tum, can you? I’m not sure if it ex­ists,” Khawaja said. “There are al­ways things we can do bet­ter, no mat­ter what game, but ... we still won.”

Se­cu­rity has been in­creased at the MCG, where a crowd of 60,000 is ex­pected on Mon­day, fol­low­ing the ar­rest of seven peo­ple over a ter­ror-re­lated plot in the city. Those charged Fri­day were al­legedly plan­ning to at­tack Mel­bourne’s Flin­ders Street train sta­tion, nearby Fed­er­a­tion Square and St. Paul’s Cathe­dral on Christ­mas Day.

Chief po­lice com­mis­sioner Gra­ham Ash­ton said while they are con­fi­dent the ter­ror plot had been con­tained, ex­tra po­lice will be de­ployed at ma­jor events.

“We know there’s lot of events on over the next sev­eral days right across our state, in­clud­ing the Box­ing Day test, Christ­mas car­ols, other events that are on,” he said. “There is no in­tel­li­gence to sug­gest there is any threat what­so­ever in re­la­tion to any of those events. How­ever we’re just mak­ing sure we’re tak­ing those ex­tra pre­cau­tions.”

Vic­to­ria Po­lice and Cricket Aus­tralia were li­ais­ing over the ap­pro­pri­ate se­cu­rity level. “Our se­cu­rity team is in con­tact with the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties to en­sure we have the ap­pro­pri­ate level of se­cu­rity at the Box­ing Day test and other cricket matches be­ing held around the coun­try,” Cricket Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive James Suther­land said in a state­ment.

In a se­cu­rity-re­lated move late in 2015, the MCG erected a new perime­ter fence about 20 to 25 me­ters (65 to 80 feet) away from the sta­dium where spec­ta­tors queue to pass through se­cu­rity be­fore en­ter­ing the ground.


Aus­tralia (one to be omit­ted): Steve Smith (cap­tain), David Warner, Matt Ren­shaw, Us­man Khawaja, Peter Hand­scomb, Nic Maddin­son, Matthew Wade, Mitch Starc, Josh Ha­zle­wood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, Chadd Say­ers

Pak­istan (from): Mis­bah-ul-Haq (cap­tain), Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Shar­jeel Khan, You­nis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sar­fraz Ahmed, Mo­ham­mad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Mo­ham­mad Nawaz, Mo­ham­mad Amir, Wa­hab Riaz, Ra­hat Ali, So­hail Khan, Im­ran Khan. —AP

BRISBANE: File photo shows Aus­tralian cap­tain Steve Smith shakes hands with Pak­istan’s coach Mickey Arthur, right, af­ter Aus­tralia’s victory on the fi­nal day of the first cricket Test be­tween Aus­tralia and Pak­istan in Brisbane, Aus­tralia, Dec 19, 2016. — AP

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