Conditions trim Australia's advantage
While Australia will be looking to get their ODI form back on track after a heavy defeat in England, Pakistan will seek to reassert their dominance in familiar conditions. Here are stats highlights ahead of the three-match ODI series to be played in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
- Australia and Pakistan have played each other 35 times since 2000 with Australia having an overwhelming 26-8 record. The head-to-head record since 2005 is also loaded in favour of Australia (13-4). While the contests in Australia have been completely one-sided (9-1 to Australia), the record is far more even (4-3) in neutral venues.
- In the last series played between the two teams in the UAE, Australia beat Pakistan 3-2. Pakistan, however, caused a massive upset by ending Australia's 34-match unbeaten streak in World Cups when they registered a four-wicket win in Colombo in the group stage of the 2011 World Cup.
- Pakistan enter the series with a mixed record in the last 12 months. Pakistan beat both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh comfortably but lost 4-0 to England after winning the Test series. They went on to win the Asia Cup beating Bangladesh in the final but lost the following ODI series in Sri Lanka 3-1.
- Australia, on the other hand, lost their way after wins in South Africa and the CB series. They drew 2-2 against West Indies and lost 4-0 to England which resulted in them slipping in the ODI rankings. It was only the fourth time that Australia lost four matches in a bilateral ODI series.
- Australia will miss the all-round skills of Shane Watson in this series. Since 2009, Watson has scored 3300 runs at an average of 44.59 and strike rate close to 91 with five centuries. In the same period, he is also Australia's second-highest wicket-taker with 85 wickets at 26.15. However, Mitchell Johnson, Australia's highest wicket-taker since 2009 (105 wickets at 26.56) returns to the squad. Among non-subcontinent bowlers who have picked up at least 50 wickets in Asia, Johnson's average of 21.10 is second only to that of Allan Donald (19.60).
- Michael Clarke has scored nearly 800 runs against Pakistan at an excellent average of 61.23. His average is the best among batsmen who have scored at least 750 runs in ODIs against Pakistan.
- With Umar Gul missing out, the top three wicket-takers in Pakistan's squad (since 2009) are all spinners. Shahid Afridi, one of only three players to score over 7000 runs and pick up 250 wickets, has a best performance of 6 for 38 against Australia in the UAE in 2009.
- In 11 day-night games in Abu Dhabi since 2009, the team batting first has won six and lost five. There is no significant advantage in Sharjah either with the team batting first having a 3-2 record in five day-night matches. Sharjah, which hosts the first and third ODIs, has been the better bowling venue for both pace bowlers and spinners. In day-night games in Sharjah since 2009, pace bowlers have picked up 41 wickets at 28.36 and spinners have 34 wickets at 28.32. The corresponding figures in Abu Dhabi are 85 wickets at 31.91 (pace) and 62 wickets at 31.14 (spin).
Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo