Warne retains faith in struggling Waugh brothers

Michael Donaldson

October 12, 2002

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The cards keep falling the wrong way for the Waugh twins but their longest serving ally in the Australian cricket team believes it's only a matter of time before the pair put a redemptive century next to their names.

The brothers, playing their 150th and 127th Tests respectively, departed in successive balls on the first day of the second Test against Pakistan.

Mark Waugh made two and Steve Waugh a first-ball duck as spinner Saqlain Mushtaq extracted some sharp spin.

Between them, they've scored just 88 runs in six innings in this series and since last year's Ashes tour the figures are starting to look ugly.

They've both had 16 innings in the past year, Steve scoring 345 runs at an average of 24.38 and Mark making 495 at 30.94. And neither has made a century for over a year.

After they were axed from the one-day side last summer, both realised that sooner or later, unless they made runs, time would run out for them in the Test arena as well.

But Shane Warne, the most experienced Australian player after the twins, said there was no hint of pressure in the dressing room.

"All of us who've played with Steve and Mark for a long time want them to do well," Warne said.

"They've been fantastic for Australian cricket and every one who watches them play wants them to do well.

"It's a just a matter of time - if they get through those first couple of overs they'll be fine.

"I thought they both played excellently in the first innings in the first Test.

"Shoaib, with that sort of spell in the seconds innings, anyone could have got out," he said in reference to their dismissals within three balls of each other in Colombo for a pair of ducks.

"This time, unfortunately, they got out but knowing what they're like, how competitive those guys are - Mark mightn't show it as much as Stephen but they're both very competitive guys - in the second innings they'll both get some runs, I'm sure."

The only problem with that prophecy is that Australia may not get another bat in this match.

Ahead of day two, Australia was 4-191 - an overall lead of 132 after they bowled out Pakistan for 59.

Pakistan's lowest score in Test came on day which Warne described as the hottest Test he'd been through.

"I think the hottest day I've ever played was in Cochin in a one-day game against India. But, besides that, today - 49 degrees and 70 per cent humidity ... it was unbelievable," Warne said.

"I don't think it gets much hotter than that.

"You started to cook up - it felt like you could fry an egg on your head."

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© 2002 AAP

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