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

Openers and Starc worry Australia

29

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.

  • 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.

  • SamRoy on September 1, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    @sony_sr I completely agree with you. What is this with Australia and sending wicketkeepers as openers? Gilly is an all time great and not everybody can be an all time great, so move on. But, Australia is fixated with the idea that the next wicketkeeper will be the next Gilly. They tried with Haddin who was fairly successful as an opener but fairly rubbish behind the stumps. Then they tried with Tim Paine who was neat as an opener and wicketkeeper without being spectacular (or even match-winning) in either department. Then with Wade who is unsuccessful as an opener and decent as a keeper.

  • SlightlyIntoCricket on September 1, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    @ randomwaffle12 ... What about Jackson Bird? Haven't seen much of him myself but from what I've heard and stats I've seen, he's quite tallented.

  • s.a.91 on September 1, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    Honestly, I think Misbah should keep the same team for Sharjah too. Although if Afridi is okay, he can come in for Tanvir. We don't have any good pace bowlers except Junaid atm so why not just use spin, if that's our strength.

  • KarachiKid on September 1, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    @the_blue_android - SPOT ON. In recent times, I have only seen Michael Clark and Andrew Strauss giving giving the due credit to their opponents. Unfortunately Strauss, the best English captain in recent time, along with Michael Vaughan, is history. But I was impressed with Clark's positive attitude in a defeat.

  • CheeseOnAStick on September 1, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    I truly despise these night matches. Someone remind me why this series is even being played in the UAE.

  • indiasucksgobd on September 1, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    Don't kow why Duckworth Hafeez always given chances by pcb

  • sony_sr on September 1, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    Aus should try out genuine openers and try to settle on them. warner and wade are pinch hitters and will only produce once in a while brilliance and will never be consistent. They will also struggle against quality bowlers irrespective of form. At least one of the openers should be a technically correct top-order batsmen. Remember! not everyone can be gilchrist.

  • the_blue_android on September 1, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    I'm a big fan of Clarke, what a guy!! In this day and age, not many captains give enough credit to the opposition but Clarke makes it a point to give credit every time he needs to...

  • CRASK on September 1, 2012, 5:27 GMT

    What is this every match hafeez is only scoring below 50 so he must be put down the order

  • Moppa on September 1, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    @randomwaffle12, not Pattinson? He's hardly old at 22!

  • Sinhaya on September 1, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    @ popcorn, stop giving excuses. How did Jamshed manage 97? Give credit to Pakistan for winning the game.

  • Zahidsaltin on September 1, 2012, 4:46 GMT

    Spactators can just come for the toss and when the coined is tossed they will know the winner and can go home and sleep. It's just crazy conditions to play cricket in as a match is 80% decided by the toss.

  • on September 1, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    It would be interesting to see David Warner to overcome his bad form and entertain the fans with his blitzkrieg that he is famous for. It would be fun if Afridi can repeat the same for hot and muggy UAE.

  • Naren on September 1, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    While Starc injury is a concern, it would be exciting to see Aliastar McDermott. I think he would do better than most guys in the team right now.

  • landl47 on September 1, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    Warner seems to have dropped into a kind of no-man's land. He's trying to find more consistency by playing more conventionally instead of lunging at everything, but in the process he's lost the ability to score quickly and go on to big totals. Eoin Margan did the same thing. Morgan has now pulled out of his slump a bit and hopefully Warner will do the same. I doubt if either of them will be outstanding test players, but they are both matchwinners and wonderful to watch in the shorter formats.

  • ammar.rashid on September 1, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    both captains a bit too humble aren't they? diplomacy to the hilt!

  • farhan4050 on September 1, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    Other then dew, I think Pakistan batted tremendously. First the opening partnership, later Azhar with Jamshed and Misbah. I'd like to bring Anwar Ali for Tanvir. Tanvir looks out of sorts and he's struggling to get his line. We saw how costly it was to drop Junaid Khan in the last match, the way he bowled last night. Anyways, You make us proud again Pakistan. Best of luck for the next match. You're surely gonna nail it.

  • popcorn on September 1, 2012, 2:53 GMT

    Crazy conditions to play cricket.Thank God it will be over on September 10.

  • randomwaffle12 on September 1, 2012, 2:53 GMT

    Good for Alister. Not good for Starc. Ideal pace attack for future: Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood, McDermott

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • randomwaffle12 on September 1, 2012, 2:53 GMT

    Good for Alister. Not good for Starc. Ideal pace attack for future: Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood, McDermott

  • popcorn on September 1, 2012, 2:53 GMT

    Crazy conditions to play cricket.Thank God it will be over on September 10.

  • farhan4050 on September 1, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    Other then dew, I think Pakistan batted tremendously. First the opening partnership, later Azhar with Jamshed and Misbah. I'd like to bring Anwar Ali for Tanvir. Tanvir looks out of sorts and he's struggling to get his line. We saw how costly it was to drop Junaid Khan in the last match, the way he bowled last night. Anyways, You make us proud again Pakistan. Best of luck for the next match. You're surely gonna nail it.

  • ammar.rashid on September 1, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    both captains a bit too humble aren't they? diplomacy to the hilt!

  • landl47 on September 1, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    Warner seems to have dropped into a kind of no-man's land. He's trying to find more consistency by playing more conventionally instead of lunging at everything, but in the process he's lost the ability to score quickly and go on to big totals. Eoin Margan did the same thing. Morgan has now pulled out of his slump a bit and hopefully Warner will do the same. I doubt if either of them will be outstanding test players, but they are both matchwinners and wonderful to watch in the shorter formats.

  • Naren on September 1, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    While Starc injury is a concern, it would be exciting to see Aliastar McDermott. I think he would do better than most guys in the team right now.

  • on September 1, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    It would be interesting to see David Warner to overcome his bad form and entertain the fans with his blitzkrieg that he is famous for. It would be fun if Afridi can repeat the same for hot and muggy UAE.

  • Zahidsaltin on September 1, 2012, 4:46 GMT

    Spactators can just come for the toss and when the coined is tossed they will know the winner and can go home and sleep. It's just crazy conditions to play cricket in as a match is 80% decided by the toss.

  • Sinhaya on September 1, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    @ popcorn, stop giving excuses. How did Jamshed manage 97? Give credit to Pakistan for winning the game.

  • Moppa on September 1, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    @randomwaffle12, not Pattinson? He's hardly old at 22!