Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - HTSPORTSMAX -

Even at full strength, Aus­tralian bat­ting in re­cent years has shown pal­pa­ble signs of weak­ness when the ball ei­ther swings or spins.

Pak­istan at­tacked a se­verely weak­ened Aus­tralian line-up util­is­ing both forms of kryp­tonite, un­veil­ing swing with the old ball and finger spin to dis­man­tle their first in­nings. Against this twin as­sault, Tim Paine’s ty­ros were pow­er­less to halt Pak­istan’s progress but at least in the sec­ond in­nings they dis­played thought­ful­ness and de­ter­mi­na­tion along with res­o­lute de­fence to clinch a draw.

The leader of their re­sis­tance was the pre­vi­ously leaden-footed Us­man Khawaja. The el­e­gant left-han­der dis­played the ben­e­fit of a well-planned re-think of his ap­proach to fac­ing spin bowl­ing and an el­e­va­tion to the top of the or­der. The most pro­duc­tive bat­ting of the Test came against the new ball where the open­ing part­ner­ships pros­pered.


In fact, there was a pe­riod in Aus­tralia’s first in­nings where they could have an­swered with a re­join­der “what weak­ness against spin?” as they cruised to 142 without loss. How­ever, at that point the Aus­tralian bat­ting suf­fered an­other all-too-fa­mil­iar col­lapse, los­ing 10 wick­ets for 60 runs.

This col­lapse was pre­cip­i­tated by the off-spin of debu­tant Bi­lal Asif, a taller ver­sion of the Mut­tiah Mu­ralitha­ran form of finger-spin, in­volv­ing a lot of wrist­work.

Asif’s de­cep­tive flight and bounce bam­boo­zled the Aus­tralian left-han­ders and opened the

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