Pakistan v Australia, 2nd ODI, Abu Dhabi September 1, 2012

Openers and Starc worry Australia


A malfunctioning top order and an injury to Mitchell Starc are Australia's major worries after a hefty defeat to Pakistan in the second ODI in Abu Dhabi. Matthew Wade was dismissed cheaply and David Warner scratched around ineffectually as the tourists slipped to 87 for 4, having been 67 for 4 in the first match of the series in Sharjah.

Starc complained of a side/chest injury when Australia were in the field, and is now an unlikely starter for the series-deciding match in Sharjah. His absence would likely mean an ODI debut for Alister McDermott.

Irrespective of who bowls for Australia in the final match, they will be hoping to be given a greater start by Wade and Warner, though the captain Michael Clarke also put himself in line for blame after making a trio of starts in three matches in the UAE without once going on to a century.

"It's disappointing I think as a top four batter, a big part of your role is to go on and make hundreds, make big scores and I've been as much to blame as anyone," Clarke said. "I've got three starts now and haven't been able to go on, so it's an area I need to continue to work on, and our top order needs to do so.

"We've got to have a better foundation than what we did today, with our top three putting their hands up to bat deeper through the innings, to allow our tail to play with more freedom."

There was very little freedom evident in Warner's game in particular, as he puzzled over 68 balls to make 24 before succumbing to Saeed Ajmal's beguiling spin. Clarke acknowledged that his opening batsman had looked out of sorts, but credited Pakistan for forcing Warner onto the defensive.

"You probably have to ask David that," Clarke said in response to a question about how circumspect Warner had seemed. "I think he found it quite difficult to score, and full credit to Pakistan, I thought they played really well today, they bowled really well upfront then they came out and played really well with the bat, so I don't want to take anything away from Pakistan, they outplayed us."

Clarke said he had been wrong-footed at the toss by the fact that the team's match eve training had revealed far less dew on the ground than would become evident when Australia tried to defend their target. The bowlers gave up 20 wides and struggled to grip the ball as Pakistan waltzed to victory.

"We trained here late last night and there was nowhere near that much dew, so it was certainly a surprise for all of us once we walked out to field today," Clarke said. "So it was the wrong decision after winning the toss to bat first.

"We were off today, we didn't play as well as we'd have liked, no doubt about that, but two days ago we beat Pakistan in the first one-dayer in conditions we're about to go back and play in, so we can take a lot of confidence out of that."

Pakistan's captain Misbah-ul-Haq acknowledged that the dew had helped his side. "It was a good toss to lose," he said. "Both the teams were not sure about what was going to happen because yesterday there wasn't so much dew. But today dew was a major factor."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RJHB on September 3, 2012, 2:36 GMT

    Lots of good points by posters: Wade a poor choice as opener- Gilly worked but was an all-timer, he would've made hundreds as 12th man! Australia are indeed poor against spin, save for Clarke and perhaps Hussey, but then the rest of the batting currently is not much chop against most kinds of bowling. The lack of a decent spinner for Australia is really hurting, Doherty is JUST NO GOOD at this level, I can't understand why Lyon isn't given a proper go to see what he's got in ODI's. And yes Watson is missed, but he is far too erratic a batsmen to think he'll solve all our batting woes, in any format! Oh and note to Imsrk, don't count your chickens just yet pal, there is not much between the teams, the result can go either way sport!

  • OneEyedAussie on September 2, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    Looks like Australia are sorely missing Watson in the top order. Warner and Wade are both hit and miss, which puts a lot of pressure on the middle order. When Watson comes back I'd like to see Wade coming in lower down the order.

  • MattyP1979 on September 2, 2012, 3:25 GMT

    The biggest worry for Aus right now is that they have 1 class player below 38! Clarke deserves better from the selectors and is carrying this team in all formats, with able support from the old guard of Huss/Punter. Aus languishing mid table or worse in all formats, tough games ahead and serious lack of depth in the ranks means tough times ahead.

  • getsetgopk on September 2, 2012, 3:08 GMT

    To be counted as one of the best team you need to have a quality spinner in your lineup, playing and bowling spin well is a must ingredient for any successful side. This tactic of all pace attack with no regular spinner in these conditions is bound to end up mostly like what we saw in the 2nd game. Also I was shocked to see the current crop of Aus batters ability to play spin, lets face it was mere survival, they gone back to the tactic of seeing Ajmals 10 overs off and scoring heavy of other bowlers but that would work only if you expect Pakistan to collapse everytime which is not the brightest of attitudes going into a game, good teams should play spin with some degree of authority otherwise you'll only be an average team.

  • Sandstorm82 on September 1, 2012, 23:40 GMT

    @cheeseonastick - because teams ate scared to come play Pakistan in Pakistan. Lol

    I'm tired of all this talk about conditions being difficult; when Pak goes to Australia we don't moan about bouncy pitches. Or when we go England about the overcast weather and plenty of swing! If the match was played in Karachi, you'd have the same amount of dew so in reality there isn't a great deal different whether you play in Pak or Abu Dhabi. All credit to Clark, loved his attitude post match.

  • saabir786 on September 1, 2012, 18:33 GMT

    there is more more thing that clarke is worrying and that is Spin King Ajmal

  • warneneverchuck on September 1, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    Everybody speak on subcontinent teams to prepare bouncy wickets y cant they say teams like Aus ENG SA to prepare turning pitches as they don't know how to play spinners

  • warneneverchuck on September 1, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    As I predicted long back. Pak 2 Aus 1. Aus r clueless against spin bowling even their so called great ponting don't know how to play spin

  • AlbertEinstein on September 1, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    @Karachi Kid: I would add Misbah and Darren Sammy to the list of humble captains too. I still remember how he said that Bangladesh were the real champions after they lost the asia cup final to Pakistan

  • RednWhiteArmy on September 1, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    If the South African coach of australia can turn this mess around, then he bordering on being a genius.

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