Pakistan v Australia 2012 August 29, 2012

Australia aim to limit Ajmal's impact

ESPNcricinfo staff

Australia's batsmen did enough to secure victory in the first ODI in Sharjah on Tuesday, but they know they will need to find a more convincing way to handle Saeed Ajmal throughout the rest of the tour. Ajmal struck with his first ball of the match and again in his second over, which left Australia in trouble at 67 for 4 chasing 199, and he finished with 3 for 30 from his ten overs.

George Bailey came to the crease after Ajmal's first two wickets and helped put Australia back on target with steady half-century, but at no point did any of the batsmen really get on top of Ajmal. He conceded only one boundary and Bailey said Australia would need to find a way to score more freely off Ajmal in the remaining matches to avoid getting bogged down.

"We could probably see him off a little better," Bailey told reporters after the match. "We knew he was going to be a key bowler and I think that's one of the real focuses we'll have going in to Abu Dhabi is how we play him, and try to milk him a little bit better and try not to give him his wickets.

"His control is good and we know he's a key bowler. Certainly towards the back end, after he'd taken his wickets, the key was just to see him out. If we scored runs off him that was great, if we didn't, that's okay, we'll just try to target the other bowlers. It's nice to have faced Ajmal a little more, get a better feel of how to play him. And it was nice to face all the bowlers who we haven't faced."

Mohammad Hafeez also proved a difficult customer for the Australian batsmen and having taken the new ball, it took him less than two overs to get rid of David Warner, who was bowled trying to slog across the line. Neither Warner nor his opening partner Matthew Wade had any real impact with the bat and Bailey said top-order partnerships would be important for Australia to win the series.

"With opening the batting there's responsibility," Bailey said. "We want Matty Wade and Davey Warner to be scoring hundreds for us. But we also know that their ball-striking can get us off to a flyer too. So there's a balance to be found there.

"The big thing that we'll take as a team is partnerships, particularly in the top order. If you look at teams that have had success over here the big partnerships and big scores come from the top order. That's a real focus for us."

The Australians were helped by the fact that their bowlers put in such a strong performance after Pakistan chose to bat, dismissing them for 198. Bailey said James Pattinson was almost the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 19, although it was Mitchell Starc who ended up with the best figures of 5 for 42. Starc said he was pleased with the results given that the conditions didn't offer much for the fast men.

"It's not helpful. There's not much seam movement out there," Starc said. "We're sticking to our plans. We're talking about it as a bowling group. I think we're all bowling really well as a group. I was lucky to get the wickets today but James Pattinson got 3 for 19 and bowled magnificently well as well. As a group I think we're doing well and then tonight with the bat we backed it up and got the job done in the end."

The three-match ODI series moves on to Abu Dhabi for the remaining two matches on Friday and Monday, before the three-match T20 series begins.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vivian on August 31, 2012, 5:08 GMT

    @goredema sure, mawoyo played a wonderful, watchful cricket against ajmal in his second test and scored a big hundred(163*), copy that australia

  • Prashan on August 31, 2012, 2:50 GMT

    Pakistan must play Junaid Khan. Cheema is getting old.

  • Peter on August 30, 2012, 21:59 GMT

    @@Bilal_Choudry. OK, you asked the question about Lillee. 26 away matches, 124 wickets @24.28. Not too shabby I would suggest. I would also add that during WSC where he bowled against THE best of the world week in week out, he outperformed even the mighty West Indian bowlers. I know these were in Australia but no one else has ever bowled better to a higher quality collection of batsmen for a sustained period. Back to my initial point, I have the highest regard for Ajmal, but to justify the many claims that he is a better performer than Swann, he needs to replicate his success in other conditions, for the benefit of Pakistan as well.

  • Nasser on August 30, 2012, 21:37 GMT

    Afridi is not a batsman. He fails 9 times out of 10. He shouldn't bat higher than No.8, as he is these days not capable of a decent score even in lower order when he has licence to hit. He hasn't the timing or strength to hit a ball cleanly. They all go up in the air for a catch. He is a mere bowler - though good one generally.

  • Bilal on August 30, 2012, 19:54 GMT

    Pakistan have a great spin attack and fast bowling was average, and batting was trash. They need to make the spin attack stronger by adding rehman. We cant do anything about the batting as some of the players played foolish shots. Hafeez has to go down the order because he has forgotten how to bat. As I read in the other comments that people want afridi to open they clearly have no brains. Afridi is tied for second with wasim akram for ducks and he really needs to improve. Azhar Ali can open with Jamshed as these two batsmen are the only good openers in the side. Junaid is great talent and must not be wasted. All players have to not loose thier wickets. Misbah is a great captain and he should be given a lot of respect. My team would be for the 2nd odi 1.Nasir Jamshed 2.Azhar Ali 3.Asad Shafiq 4.Umar Akmal 5.Misbah 6.M Hafeez 7. Kamran Akmal 8.Shahid Afridi (Duck Master) 9.Abdur Rehman 10. Saeed Ajmal 11.Junaid Khan. This team would destroy austarlia.

  • Amjad on August 30, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    I would love to see Afridi come as an opener, he is no use at no.7 or no.8. Let Hafiz play down the order. Afridi get OUT too soon in almost every match. Then why not try him as an opener & let him play big when its still the power play.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    ahmed usman........i am not entirely against the pak spin bowling are talking about shane warne on bouncy track he was a big turner of the ball not like hafeez or afirdi ajmal is exceptionally well with his doosra,but my point is in fast bouncy track utilization of three spinners might be too risky even in shane warne case austrailia mostly went with three fast bowlers (lee,mc grath,gillispie) and only one spinner(warne).

  • Munaf on August 30, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Strategy is right. Milk Ajmal for 30-35 runs without risking shots to give him wicket. Rest of bowling is over hyped and actually crap. Score 30 odd runs of Ajmal and then score 200 odd for next 40 overs. A score of 230+ is winning score against this Pakistan batting i line up. No need to target 300 when 230 can get job done. Barring a fluke once in 50 innings quickfire runs from Afridi, the rest of batters will give up moment they see 200+ on scoreboard.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    They need to watch Tino Mawoyos innings of 163* against Ajmal who bowled 54 overs in that innings.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    Pakistan indeed got a very good spin attack but the batting is letting them down

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