Pakistan v Australia 2014-15 November 4, 2014

Pressure? What pressure?

Pakistan's 2-0 series sweep over Australia was forged by players who came in either struggling or with a point to prove, and ended as stars

Play 03:56

Younis Khan

After being dropped from the ODI squad for the Australia series, a "hurt" Younis Khan told the PCB, "Don't select me. Not even in Tests. I sacrifice my future."

His words carried a lot of weight, and echoed in every floor of the PCB headquarters. Younis eventually made himself available and was selected for the Tests, but he was under massive pressure to cash in on the chance and prove his value to the squad.

And prove his value he did, with scores of 106, 103*, 213 and 46 from four innings, and by breaking a number of records on the way. Younis put himself among the best batsmen in the history of Pakistan cricket by becoming only their third player to collect 8000 Test runs. His 213 in Abu Dhabi was the fifth double of his career, and took him to second in the list of Pakistan batsmen with most double-hundreds, behind Javed Miandad who has six. Younis also became the leading century-maker for Pakistan, with 27 tons. His 468-run tally in this series is the second best by a Pakistan batsman against Australia, after Saleem Malik's 557 in 1994.

It came as little surprise when the PCB later hinted that Younis would be a part of Pakistan's 2015 World Cup plans.

Misbah-ul-Haq

Before the Test series, Misbah-ul-Haq was told by the PCB that the road ahead was his to choose: whether to lead, or leave. So poor was his form with the bat, that after losing the first two ODIs and the series to Australia, Misbah sat out the third game in Abu Dhabi.

In the end, 24 minutes was all it took for Misbah to remind both the selectors and his critics just what he is capable of, as he scored the fastest ever Test fifty. Fifty minutes later, Misbah equalled the record held by Viv Richards for the quickest century, off just 56 deliveries. He became only the second Pakistan captain to score a hundred in each innings of a Test, and the first to do so against Australia.

His efforts paved the way for a 356-run victory, Pakistan's largest victory margin in terms of runs, and sealed the series 2-0.

Azhar Ali

Azhar Ali had been nearly dropped from the team in January, but a quick-fire hundred against Sri Lanka in Sharjah gave his career a new lease of life. Azhar, however, failed to make good on those chances and his ineffective performances in Sri Lanka in August did not help his cause. What was especially worrying, though, was Azhar's continued inability to convert his good starts into big scores.

Those concerns, however, were eased in the UAE. After scores of 53 and 30 in the first Test in Dubai, Azhar became the ninth Pakistan batsman to register a ton in both innings of a Test by hitting 109 and 100 not out in Abu Dhabi. Those knocks also marginally increased his Test strike-rate, and made him a key middle-order batsman in the side. It's now up to Azhar, who is also a competent close-in fielder, to sustain this good run of form following a forgettable 2013.

Zulfiqar Babar

At the age of 35, Zulfiqar Babar had to make up for plenty of lost time. Babar finally got his chance, but he was only a few internationals old, and was under massive pressure to fill a Saeed Ajmal-sized hole in Pakistan's spin attack.

Babar, though, was unfazed by the weight of the responsibility thrust on his shoulders. He bowled 115.4 overs - the most in a two-Test series - snapped two five-fors and became the top wicket-taker with 14 scalps at 26.35. His slider in particular was a deadly weapon. Babar might have had to wait until he was 34 to make his Test debut, but the left-arm spinner, who is nicknamed baba (old man) in the press box, has no regrets. "Better late than never," he said.

Yasir Shah

Thirteen years after making his first-class debut, Yasir Shah had 279 wickets at 24.43 heading into the Australia Tests. He has been regarded as a bright prospect since making his ODI debut in 2011, but the presence of Ajmal meant Yasir always had to wait. He finally got to make his Test debut in Dubai, but as a specialist spinner against Australia, he had plenty to prove and live up to.

Yasir picked up 13 wickets in the series at an average of 17.25. His variations, energy levels, and composure as a legspinner won him plenty of fans, including Shane Warne, who predicted a prosperous future for the bowler.

"I like the look of this leggie Yasir Shah, plenty of energy and nice variations of pace," Warne tweeted. "He is going to take 200-plus Test wickets."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

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