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Stats Analysis

Stats: Usman Khawaja's dream homecoming, and end of Australia's overseas drought

Reverse swing came to the rescue of the pace bowlers in tough bowling conditions, as opening batters made merry

Usman Khawaja sports a smile after bringing up his second century of the series, Pakistan vs Australia, 3rd Test, Lahore, 4th day, March 24, 2022

Usman Khawaja averaged 165.33, the second-highest for an opener in a Test series with a minimum of five innings  •  AFP/Getty Images

Khawaja's homecoming
The inaugural Benaud-Qadir Trophy was the perfect homecoming for Usman Khawaja, the Player of the Series in Australia's triumph. Playing for the first time in Pakistan, the country of his birth, Khawaja struck two hundreds and came close twice before falling in the 90s. His series aggregate of 496 runs is the second-highest for a visiting opener in Pakistan, behind Mark Taylor's 513 in 1998.
Khawaja's average of 165.33 is also the second-highest for an opening batter in a Test series with a minimum of five times batted, behind Shoaib Mohammad's 169 against New Zealand in 1990.
End of Australia's overseas drought
Victory in Lahore not only handed Australia their third Test series win in Pakistan, but also their first series win away from home in six years. Their last away series win had come back in February 2016, when they beat New Zealand 2-0.
The latest series win versus Pakistan is also Australia's first series win in Asia since beating Sri Lanka 1-0 in August 2011. Australia featured in six Test series in Asia between these two series wins, losing five of them. In fact, they could win only two of the 19 Tests played across those six series.
A series for the openers
The opening batters were amongst runs throughout the series, hitting five centuries and seven fifties between them. Pakistan openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique got a combined three hundreds in Rawalpindi, while Khawaja scored two tons in the series and was part of crucial opening stands with David Warner.
In total, the four batters scored 1432 runs collectively in this series at an average of 79.55 - the highest for openers in any three-plus match Test series. The previous highest was 72.66 during the three-match series between India and Sri Lanka in 2009.
The average opening stand in this series was 84.4, the highest average opening partnership in any Test series with a minimum of ten opening partnerships.
Bowlers put hard yards
Not much assistance was on offer for the bowlers in this series, making them toil hard for wickets. All three matches in the series went at least as far as until an hour after tea on the final day. The bowlers of both teams collectively picked up 71 wickets, one every 102.9 balls on an average, the worst bowling strike rate in a three-plus matche series since 2001.
The bowling average of 48.47 in this series is also the worst for any three-plus match Test series since 2011.
The reverse comes to the rescue
Pace bowlers had a tough time in the Rawalpindi Test, where they had only four wickets. Karachi and Lahore were no different, but the low bounce and reversing old ball came to their rescue. Throughout the series, a 30-over old ball produced 19 wickets for pace bowlers - at an average of 20.05 during the period of overs 31-60 and 111-140, and a strike rate of 47.7.
In the remaining period, they had 23 wickets at 50.22, with a wicket every 108.4 balls. The first new ball had been ineffective through the series, with only five wickets picked by the quicks during the first 20 overs at an average of 80.20, the worst in any three-match series.

Sampath Bandarupalli is a statistician at ESPNcricinfo