Doolan loses out to 'x-factor' Maxwell
Alex Doolan's inertia at the crease in Dubai cost him his place for the second Test in Abu Dhabi, according to Australia's coach Darren Lehmann. Glenn Maxwell was chosen ahead of Doolan with the Australians needing a victory in Abu Dhabi to level the series, and he was listed at No.3 on the official team sheet.
Doolan scored a century in the warm-up match against Pakistan A in Sharjah but appeared stagnant against Pakistan's spinners in the first Test in Dubai, where his only runs against them came from an edge past slip off Zulfiqar Babar. Doolan was run out for 5 from 34 balls in the first innings trying to force a risky single after getting bogged down, and in the second he played across the line and was lbw for a duck.
"Maxwell in for Doolan, which is a tough call on Alex," Lehmann said of the change in Abu Dhabi. "We think Glenn's got a bit of x-factor about him and plays spin quite well so we've decided to go down that path.
"Alex has been good in a few Test matches for us. Struggled in the first Test match as we know but end of the day we've got to pick a side that we think is going to get 20 wickets and be proactive in our scoring and give us a chance to win the game."
The inclusion of Maxwell was not the only change for Australia, with Mitchell Starc also included on a surface they believe will not turn as much as Dubai. Steve O'Keefe was unlucky to be omitted after he was Australia's leading wicket-taker on debut in Dubai, where he picked up four of the 11 wickets the Australians claimed in the match.
Lehmann said O'Keefe had performed well in the first Test but an extra fast bowler was necessary for the Abu Dhabi conditions. However, Starc has little red-ball cricket behind him, having missed most of the Australian summer due to back stress fractures before returning in the shorter formats for Australia and missing the back end of the Sheffield Shield season.
Starc's last first-class match was the Ashes Test at The Oval, which was 14 months ago. In the warm-up game in Sharjah he took 0 for 41 from 15 overs.
"Mitchell comes in for Steve O'Keefe, who I thought did a really good job in his debut," Lehmann said. "Disappointing for him personally but obviously we think the left-arm quick with the reverse here and the conditions might be a better factor for us."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale