Pakistan's tour of Australia, comprising three Test matches, three other first-class games and their participation in the triangular World Series Cup, brought them disappointingly little success. Defeat in the first of the three Test matches cost them the series; they lost to Western Australia and Victoria, as well as to the Prime Minister's XI in a one-day game; and they were no match for Australia in the WSC finals.
Although they had had the offer of a full five-Test series, they opted instead for another of their predictable stalemates with India, in Pakistan, before going to Australia just after Christmas. As the two sides were generally considered to be playing for the right to be ranked behind West Indies as the second-strongest Test-playing country, this was a pity. In the three Tests that were played, Australia were emphatically the better side, if not, in theory, the better balanced.
Arriving without two of their established batsmen, Salim Malik and Ramiz Raja, one ill, the other injured, Pakistan were soon further reduced when Abdul Qadir returned home before the Test series started, ostensibly with a damaged finger but at least as much on temperamental grounds. As Qadir had been Pakistan's greatest match-winner of the 1980s, his departure got the touring team off on the wrong foot, though in the event the pitches were better suited to the faster bowlers. Qadir's replacement, Mushtaq Ahmed, was another wrist-spinner, young and highly promising, but without as yet much of a leg-break to go with the googly and top-spinner.
The player of the tour was undoubtedly Wasim Akram, whose brisk and varied left-arm bowling and belligerent left-handed batting soon had him being talked of as the world's best all-rounder. Pakistan's main failing was in their early batting, which left Imran Khan and Javed Miandad with much repair work to do, assisted by Wasim and Ijaz Ahmed, a 21-year-old whose century in the First Test was a brilliant effort. Imran batted exceptionally well. But Pakistan's fielding, especially their catching, was so poor as to give Australia, in this respect, a telling advantage.
For Australia, Terry Alderman, though he missed the Second Test, and Mark Taylor were scarcely less effective than they had been in England a few months earlier. Taylor's dependability contrasted with Pakistan's vain search for someone to anchor their innings. What Australia lacked was variety in their attack, owing to a shortage of good spin bowling. In three of the six Test matches they played during the season, they failed to complete victories which seemed to be there for the taking.
Pakistan were managed by Intikhab Alam, whose popularity was undoubtedly tarnished by an incident in the match against Victoria, when he failed to quell the wholly unreasonable anger of his players after one of Australia's most experienced umpires, Robin Bailhache, had given Mushtaq Ahmed a final warning for following through too straight. When this was ignored, Bailhache notified Ramiz Raja, who was captaining the Pakistanis, that Mushtaq would not be allowed to bowl again in the innings, a ruling which the Pakistanis refused to accept. Having been summoned on to the field, Intikhab then allowed his players to walk off, himself at the head of them. Although a compromise was reached, whereby Mushtaq was allowed to continue bowling, the incident revealed the lack of discipine which has so often prevented Pakistan from making the best use of their natural cricketing ability.
Test matches- Played 3: Lost 1, Drawn 2. First-class matches- Played 6: Lost 3, Drawn 3. Losses- Australia, Western Australia, Victoria. Draws- Australia (2), Queensland. One-day internationals- Played 10: Won 5, Lost 5. Wins- Sri Lanka (3), Australia (2). Losses- Sri Lanka (1), Australia (4). Other non first-class match- Lost to Prime Minister's XI.
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