Misbah’s swansong in Sydney?
SYDNEY: Having already won the series, Australia will target a clean sweep, while Pakistan prepares for a future without Misbah-ul-Haq,
when the third and final Test begins in Sydney today.
Australia sealed the series with a game to spare on an actionpacked final day of the second Test in Melbourne, where Pakistan capitulated in less than two sessions.
It was only the fifth instance in history of a side losing by an innings after scoring more than 400 in the first innings.
With the opportunity to keep the series alive going into the final Test lost, a shattered Pakistan will also have to soon reconcile to life without Misbah, their most successful captain, who admitted after the Melbourne defeat that he was considering retirement. “I always believed that if I couldn’t contribute to the team, then it’s no point staying there. I haven’t decided (about Sydney), but let’s see,” Misbah said after the second Test. However, the Pakistan team management has since confirmed that Misbah will both play and lead in Sydney in what could be the last Test match of his storied career. Pakistan will once again focus on correcting their poor record in Australia. They are facing their 12th straight defeat since their last Test win in Sydney 22 years ago. Australia, too, will be looking ahead to the future with an important four-Test series in India in February-March.
Steve Smith, the Australian skipper, confirmed that Steven O’Keefe would line up as the second specialist spinner behind Nathan Lyon, the off-spinner, and also formalised a debut for Hilton Cartwright, the batting all-rounder who will slot in at No 6, in the 13-man squad on a pitch expected to assist turn.
Australia and Pakistan will also play a five-match ODI series starting in Brisbane on January 13. TEAMS