Pakistan v Australia, 1st ODI, Sharjah

Tough contest looms in UAE heat

The Preview by Brydon Coverdale

August 28, 2012

Comments: 55 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Shahid Afridi removed Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chamara Kapugedera, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd T20I, Hambantota
Shahid Afridi needs three more wickets to reach 350 in ODIs, and he is the leading wicket taker among current one-day international players © AFP
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August 28-29, 2012
Start time 1800 (1400 GMT)

Big Picture

Australia's one-off entrée against Afghanistan now complete, it's time for the main course in the UAE: a three-match ODI series followed by three Twenty20s against Pakistan. That the series is even going ahead is a credit to both countries, for finding a venue and a suitable time proved harder than anyone could have imagined. Initially, Sri Lanka was to host the matches but the scheduling of the SLPL at the same time scuppered that plan. Malaysia was considered, with the heat in the UAE at this time of year making it unsuitable for day-time play, but in the end the boards agreed to play in the UAE with a 6pm start for the ODIs, to avoid the hottest part of the afternoon.

The conditions and the likelihood of turning pitches will give Pakistan a good chance of breaking their ten-year drought without a one-day series win against Australia. Not that Pakistan have been in particularly good one-day form: they lost a series to Sri Lanka in June and to England in the UAE in February. Australia are similarly struggling in the 50-over format; having been soundly beaten by England they slipped to fourth on the ICC one-day rankings, and could fall further if they lose to Pakistan, who are sixth.

Both sides are without some senior players: Pakistan have dropped Umar Gul and Younis Khan, and Australia are missing Clint McKay due to injury and Shane Watson, who is being rested to allow him more time for strength and conditioning work ahead of a busy schedule. Pakistan are expected to use a spin-heavy attack in this first match, while Australia have decided to rely on pace, having seen the ball swing in their win against Afghanistan.

Form guide (Complete matches, most recent first)

Pakistan LLLWW
Australia WLLLL

Watch out for

It's nearly 18 months since Kamran Akmal last played for his country in any format, in the World Cup semi-final loss to India. Since then, Pakistan have rotated through four different wicketkeepers in ODIs, including Kamran's brothers Adnan Akmal and Umar Akmal. Now it is his turn again. Kamran's batting is always a threat, although in 15 ODIs he has only once scored more than 50 against Australia, but it's his glovework that often lets the team down. As part of the squad for this tour and the ICC World Twenty20, he needs to find his best form with both bat and gloves over the next month.

By promoting himself to No.3, Michael Clarke has said that he is the man to fix Australia's batting black hole. In the past year, Australia have used Clarke, Ricky Ponting, Peter Forrest, Shane Watson, Matthew Wade and George Bailey at first drop, for a combined average of 23.37. Against Afghanistan Clarke made 75 and it was a positive sign, and he will be aiming to keep that form going against Pakistan. Batting high up also gives Clarke a chance to bat for a long period against what is likely to be a spin-heavy attack, and he is the best equipped of Australia's batsmen to handle such bowling.

Team news

Pakistan have taken a 16-man squad for the ODIs but there was no room for Umar Gul or Younis Khan, while Kamran Akmal was brought back into the side. The exact make-up of the attack remains uncertain, but the coach Dav Whatmore indicated they would rely largely on the slow bowlers. "We are going to bowl more spin than the quicks," Whatmore said, "and it's important that we do that well."

Pakistan (squad) Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal (wk), Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Aizaz Cheema, Saeed Ajmal, Imran Farhat, Shoaib Malik, Abdur Rehman, Junaid Khan, Anwar Ali

Australia have made one change from the side that beat Afghanistan, leaving out their frontline spinner Xavier Doherty. The allrounder Daniel Christian will take his place, meaning plenty of seam-bowling options for Michael Clarke, while the spin duties will be shared by Glenn Maxwell, David Hussey and Clarke himself. It remains to be seen whether Matthew Wade will open or be moved down the order to give him some respite from the heat.

Australia 1 Matthew Wade (wk), 2 David Warner, 3 Michael Clarke (capt), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 David Hussey, 6 George Bailey, 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Daniel Christian, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 James Pattinson

Pitch and conditions

The humid conditions allowed Australia's fast bowlers to extract plenty of swing at the same venue against Afghanistan, but Pakistan's spinners should also find the conditions to their liking. The temperature, even late at night, is not expected to fall below 33C.

Stats and trivia

  • Shahid Afridi needs three more wickets to reach 350 in one-day internationals; now that Brett Lee has retired, Afridi is the leading wicket taker among current ODI cricketers
  • The last one-day international Australia played against Pakistan in the UAE was just over three years ago, yet only one member of that Australia side - Michael Clarke - will take the field in this game
  • Should Australia lose the series 2-1 they won't move on the ICC one-day rankings, but if they lose 3-0 they will drop from fourth to sixth, swapping places with Pakistan


    "Australia have had a retirement or two and an injury so I suppose we can have an edge to start with."
    Dav Whatmore, the coach of Pakistan

    "Both teams are keen to get some consistency, I guess, back into the one-day game. I think Pakistan are a lot like Australia in the fact that they have a lot of talent - it's just about performing consistently."
    Australia's captain Michael Clarke

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

RSS Feeds: Brydon Coverdale

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by The-love on (August 28, 2012, 14:51 GMT)

We need one 8least 100 runs partnership....after that shahid's cameo,even of 40 will do the trick..Aussies will surrender in front of ajmal,afridi and hafeez....

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

We pray for Pakistan victory.

Posted by Marcio on (August 28, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

The main thing for Australia is match practice on drier wickets that spin more. The actual results are not that important, although obviously they'd like to win. I think it will be a close series in these conditions, and too tight to call.

Posted by Saad.Navaid on (August 28, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

i think the reason to include Dan christian is to give Pakistan a weak link and some chance to score against the Aussie bowling attack... can anyone think of a better justification...? this guy sucks big time...

Posted by reddawn1975 on (August 28, 2012, 12:55 GMT)

Being a die hard Australian fan i am in complete and utter shock that once again Steve Smith is in this squad the guy should not be playing International cricket he maybe a nice guy but i am so Steve your simply not at that level or will you ever be at this level of cricket in any format of the game??????????????AUSTRALIAN SELECTORS SWITCH ON!

Posted by cricketstarbest on (August 28, 2012, 12:53 GMT)

Aus will WIN the series easily

Posted by mstr_cricket on (August 28, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

i think think that contests like this need to be publicised more in Australia, I am one of probably very few people in australia staying up to watch this contest. Barely anyone in Australia even realises that this series is on, come on CA, wheres the publicity... go aussies :) i love ODIs but i feel with the lack of publicity and the over playing of them, it will become a forgotten form, just my opinion... :)

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

Pak should Clean the Aus In All Matches...on Home Ground They have a Big Advantage!

Posted by Crazy_Pk on (August 28, 2012, 12:28 GMT)

Hope to watch a good contest... I think 260 wud be a fighting total. My team for Pak ... Kamran, Hafeez, Azher, Asad, Misbah, U.Akmal, Shoaib, Afridi, Ajmal, Junaid, S.Tanvir. Dil to chahta he k Pak 3-0 se jeetey, but when I review on past matches b/w both sides, its totally different.

Hope for the best!!!

Posted by AMAZINGFAN on (August 28, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

pak will be hammered by aus.

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 12:06 GMT)

Afridi also need 2 more sixes to get 300 sixes in his record book. Sanath is already retired with 270 sixes and nobody else have more thn 200 sixes so this ODI record is not going to break soon. Third in the list is Sachin with 195 sixes as of now.

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

Pakistan have a decent chance of gaining some confidence ahead of T20 World Cup and improving thier ODIs ranking as well. Much depends upon Pakistan spin attack of Afridi, Hafeez, Ajmal and Abdur Rehman.

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (August 28, 2012, 11:34 GMT)

None of two z favorite cnsidrng pathetic recent form of both teams,pak's midle ordr loks thinner of d 2 so does ausie spin department,dropng younis was great decisn though as was bringing kamran back,so selectrs have done most thing great,now i want to see talha,rahat,wahab,ahmd shazad n haris sohail been given a gd run in al formats,,i always admire aussies 4 their talnt pls their managmnt ,their pace atack seems gd atack 4 futur bt they r too much prone to injuries,howevr their batng z no way near great,

Posted by Marcio on (August 28, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

@kickittome70, Australia are at a low ebb? Why? because they just lost their first test/ODI series in 18 months and 12 series? As for being beaten consistently by the English, the last four series sees England winning one test series and one ODI series, and Australia winning one ODI series,with one T20 series drawn. None of these are particularly bad, and the overall performance has been very good, except for the very last ODI series. So why all the pessimism? Even in T20s it's been ages since Australia lost a T20 series - mostly because they hardly ever play any! Drew against SA, WI, Eng. Oh yeah, they lost agaist SL about a year ago. Again, hardly anything to comit hari kari about.

Posted by bouncedout on (August 28, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

Aus with their best side out but still cannot see any other result than a victory for Pakistan. Superior in all areas to what is a fairly talentless bunch from down under.

Posted by thebarmyarmy on (August 28, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

Worrying times for Australian ODI cricket. Oh dear...

Posted by satish619chandar on (August 28, 2012, 10:38 GMT)

Hell yeah!! Kamran is back.. Rehman's bowling in county would make Pakistanis think much if they are going to go with only one spinner - Given the form of Hafeez and Afridi with ball.. Two seamers, one medium pace all rounder, one spinner and two spinning all rounder might do the job..

Posted by The-love on (August 28, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

Go Pak Go....crush the aussies.....3-0 in ODI....from an Indian Fan....

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 9:56 GMT)

i wish afridi gets his 3 wickets today and i am in dubai going to go in 2 matches for sure

Posted by Me_A_Gemini on (August 28, 2012, 9:50 GMT)

@youbasherscreatedme: You look confused mate. First you have told the complete story about Pak downfall and then in your last sentence you say 'Hoping for a closely fought contest though'. How can you expect a close contest when you proved Pak team down and out? I must say that gone are those days when Pak had been dependent on super stars to perform and win matches. The current team may be lacking super stars like Wasim, Waqar, Shaoib, Asif etc but strongly showing signs of playing like a team. Now Pak is dependent on team performances rather the one man show. I suggest you not to build your analysis brainlessly. Please know and read first before making any analysis.

Posted by revolution72 on (August 28, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

kamran, nazir, hafeez, azhar, shafiq, umar, afridi (s) razzaq, tanvir, ajmal, junaid

Posted by Youngcricketer1000 on (August 28, 2012, 9:43 GMT)

I think this is one of the best teams the selecors of Pakistan team has picked in years. Nazir, Kamran and Umar, afridi, Anwar ali, ajmal, Razzaq are one of the most talented players in the world, they are game changers, match winners. Then we also have solidity with Misbah and bowling wise Rehman can keep the runrate down. I think Pakistan can easily beat australia 3 - 0 inshaalah like they beat england 3 - 0 in the test series when no one was expecting it.

Posted by AshrafGul_FU on (August 28, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

Either make Afridi open or just get rid of him. He is a useless guy down the order. Comes in to Bat, Hits 2 sixes and immediately gets out. That has been the story for years. Razzaq is better than him.

Posted by AshrafGul_FU on (August 28, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

Should be a cakewalk for Australia ! This Pak team is ordinary. We saw how England literally pawned Pakistan in ODIs last time they came here in UAE. Finn was at its best ! Shall be some good practice sessions for Australian fast bowlers too against sloggers of Pakistan. Ajmal, the lone Warrior, who is already almost 35, has lost his touch too. We saw that against Eng in UAE, against SL in SL and now in SLPL. He is just not delivering. Once he retires, Pakistan team is finished. Gone are those days when Pak used to produce Quality fast bowlers. After Mohmmad Amir and Mohmmad Asif's exit, PCB has tried so many fast bowlers, but no one cemented his place yet. Even Gul has been thrown out of ODIs. Hoping for a closely fought contest though.

Posted by dsnagre on (August 28, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

I think the pak team should be..farhat .kamran.hafeez.azhar.misbah.shafiq.umar.afridi.ajmal.tanvir.cheema.

Posted by mylife4cricket on (August 28, 2012, 8:29 GMT)

i wonder why they dropped doherty.spinners are most needed on those sluggish wickets in the end of the series,i think it will be a big blow!

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

PCB should go ahead and start selecting more younger players in the team, instead of persisting with players such as Malik, Farhat, Cheema and co. These players are very lucky to be playing for Pakistan, when more younger and capable players are being ignored. Anyway, the series should be interesting. Good luck to Pakistan.

Posted by Big-Dog on (August 28, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

Leaving out Doherty is a mistake. Christian has no experience particularly when it comes to retricting the run rate at the end of an innings. Johnson is also a liability. Aust selectors have made Pakistans quest so much easier.

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 28, 2012, 8:18 GMT)

SHould be a fairly easy victory to Aus. Great to see Dan the man back in the side.

Posted by kickittome70 on (August 28, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

My beloved Aussie team is at a low ebb at the moment, we were soundly and consistently beaten by the English and now were meeting a potent Pakistan side. The Pakistani's have some very good players plus a couple of matchwinners. WE will have to play very well to have a chance. I have a deep respect for the Pakistan team, as they never play at home and still have delivered some great results. It will result in 2 all I think. With the obligatory man-of-the-match award going to Afridi in at least one of the games.

Posted by Me_A_Gemini on (August 28, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

@Umair Khalid: Count your men, I think you have ten players in your team which is not possible :P. I agree with umair's team with certainty of including Asad Shafiq, Saeed Ajmal and Sohail Tanvir from his choices. But there is a problem with this team. That is ,this team only has 5 bowlers including both Muhammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi. Let's see.

Posted by Marcio on (August 28, 2012, 8:07 GMT)

But what on earth is Pattinson still doing in the team? Is there any ODI game where he has ever bowled well? He lacks the variety for this format, and his pace will only see the ball flying to the boundary faster, especially in dry, flat sub-continent and UAE tracks. A fine test match bowler, where pace and aggression count for much (and he can swing it too), but not a short format bowler by any stretch. I'd be inclined to put in McDermott, who is a fine 50 over bowler in the making.

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 8:01 GMT)

My 11 is: Nasir Hafeez Kamran Asad Umar Misbah Afridi Tanvir Ajmal Junaid Anwar. That's 4 Batsmen,3 all-rounders,a keeper and 3 bowlers.

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

good decision to rest Gul ! and younis must be reconsidered fr t20.. the captain who won Pak a WC surely got some guts the team might like to bank upon at times....

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 7:31 GMT)

PAk have to overcome of their weak nerve as now a days they are loosing almost win game like U-19 quarter final, WOrld cup 2011, Tournament in Bangladesh etc

Posted by Biggus on (August 28, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

You can just never underestimate Pakistan who are the very definition of quixotic, and this is no world beating team of ours at the moment so I won't be betting the house on an Aussie win. I'd be very surprised if we didn't see some good cricket however, whatever the relative weaknesses of the teams. Both ourselves and the Pakistanis play an aggressive game so it's always worth a look.

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 6:55 GMT)

@jonesy2: and what may i know is australia's best side? barring a couple of players (Watson and maybe one seamer) you're pretty much playing your best XI for the ODIs. even pakistan doesn't have GUl and Younis for some strange reason. Both very handy players in the shorter format.

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 6:53 GMT)

It really isn't so hot in the UAE right now, especially at night when the temperatures are normally in the low 30s- hardly the kind of weather to give players nightmares.

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 6:50 GMT)

I am from India..But i always loved to see Saed Ajmal's bowling.... UAE pitch will help spinners.. Ausies will have tough time but i think they can manage it...PAk must try some young blood and give them decent run...The problem with the pak management is they expect their young cricketers to produce magic within few appearances...

Posted by satish619chandar on (August 28, 2012, 6:49 GMT)

Is it the dew which forced the Aussies to go with 4 quickies? Though DHuss and Maxwell can share the spin load with captain, i guess a professional spinner would be easy to go in these conditions.. Swann and Patel were good when England won here in shorter formats..

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

go pakistan go, you can grab the no.4 position by beaten ausies 3-0, best of luch PAKISTAN ZINDABAD

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

my team would be Nasir Jamshed Mohd Hafeez Azhar Ali Umar Akmal Misbah Malik/Asad Shafiq Kamran Akmal Shahid Afridi Saeed Ajmal/Abdur Rehman Sohail Tanvir/Anwar Ali Junaid Khan

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 6:21 GMT)

The exclusion of Younis shouldnt be a problem, he is a test player who perform on the odd one day match as of recent form. Aizaz Cheema, Imran Farhat, Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik are lucky to be in the side, i dont know how they managed that. But then again having said that, there is no time left to try out fresh blood. Overall both teams are in the restructuring process and this series is all about the preparation for T20 World Cup. Glad to see Mitchell Johnson back in the side, i hope he gets his Wasim Akram style magic touch back.

Posted by Buckers410 on (August 28, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

Good looking Aus side. But what is Johnson doing in the team.

Posted by Meety on (August 28, 2012, 6:09 GMT)

Should be a good contest - c'mon Ozzys, c'mon, c'mon!

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 6:08 GMT)

Good Luck Pakistan. Let us take advanatge of this opportunity and enter the T20 World Cup in a positive frame of mind

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 6:02 GMT)

Best Of luck Pakistan.....(Y)

Posted by jonesy2 on (August 28, 2012, 5:38 GMT)

should be good contest considering this is no where near australia's best side.

Posted by zenboomerang on (August 28, 2012, 5:25 GMT)

Looks like a good team, I think Wade should bat at no.7 for this series & Christian at no.6 - though Dan can bat up the order as he showed in the IPL... Maxwell, Huss & Clarke all bowled tidily against Afghanistan, so Doherty being dropped will not be missed... We now have a tail that bats down to no.11 with 7 bowlers, so its just of matter of performing well on the day... Looking for a good contest, though I'll miss watching due to the late start...

Posted by aanfrompakistan on (August 28, 2012, 5:10 GMT)

I agree that pakistan should attack more with spin but they should at-least play 2 fast bowlers so that Saeed Ajmal is not used in last overs as a defensive option.come on Misbah use Ajmal to pick wickets rather than to stop runs. And Pakistan must play Nasir Jamshed as an opener as he really looks a compact player and best of the lot of openers pakistan possesses.

Posted by Saad.Navaid on (August 28, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

Go Go Pakistan...wish you guys well but i think Pakistan must not count out their pace bowling options. Yes the spinners are world class but there is nothing better than a swinging ball at 140kms of 150kms coming in and out at the start of the innings... my 11 would be... 1.Hafeez, 2. Kamran, 3. Azhar Ali, 4. Misbah, 5. Umer Akmal, 6. Afridi, 7. Sohail Tanveer, 8. Abdul Rehman, , 9. Saeed Ajmal, 10. Aizaz Cheema/ Anwer Ali, 11. Junaid Khan... the only change can be shoaib amilk coming in place of azhar ali and playing at no 6 before afridi...

Posted by   on (August 28, 2012, 4:55 GMT)

Guys! Now Game is up to you. Play with full potential. You will be winners. Proud to Pakistani. We will always support you.

Posted by landl47 on (August 28, 2012, 4:19 GMT)

Well, I guess Clarke's statement that whoever bowls spin the best will win the series was either just smoke and mirrors or he expects to lose the series. I think the balance of the side suffers without Doherty, but he didn't do much against Afghanistan so Aus decided to go with their strength and also add some more batting with Christian. This might be a low-scoring game; Pakistan without Younus look very thin in the middle order and Australia don't have a lot of great players of spin. Australia just look stronger all round than Pakistan and must be favorites.

Posted by Heisenburg on (August 28, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

No Doherty? What the hell? I don't like the guy and think he shouldn't be in the team, but we need a spinner and he's the best in the squad.

Posted by Marcio on (August 28, 2012, 3:56 GMT)

This series is hard to call. A lot of unknown factors. And Australia are not struggling in the ODI format, as the article suggests. Are England struggling in the ODI format because they lost 5-0 to India just a while back? One bad whirlwind series in the offseason does not equate to "struggling in the format", when the team hadn't lost an ODI series for 18 months before that. Three bad series, then we can start talking trends.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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