Pakistan warned to brace for Australia backlash
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has warned his team to beware a backlash from a wounded Australia.
JOHANNESBURG - Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has warned his team to beware a backlash from a wounded Australia in the second and final test in Abu Dhabi starting on Thursday.
Pakistan thrashed the Australians by 221 runs in Dubai on Sunday, with their spinners rattling through the visitors' batsmen on a slow pitch.
The defeat cost the tourists their chance of regaining the top test ranking from South Africa, while giving a raw Pakistan outfit a timely dose of belief after recent struggles.
Waqar, however, said he expected the Abu Dhabi clash to be a true test of the hosts' mettle.
"We have won the first test but it's a long way to go, the second test will be tough," the former test paceman told reporters on Tuesday.
"We all know that Australia are very positive about their cricket and they feel hurt, they will bounce back, I am sure, and we have to be prepared for that."
Pakistan can seal their first series win over Australia in 20 years, and also lift their ranking from sixth to a respectable third.
"To come into [the] top three is a big thing," said Waqar, a member of the 1994 side that beat Australia at home.
"But besides coming into the top three, consistency is more important for me because we have always been unpredictable, sometimes up and then down, so we need to give consistent performances.
"It's necessary that if we give a good performance then we must have a follow through so that people have confidence in us as a side.
"We have proved in the first test that we have got the talent and the potential.
"So if we apply ourselves then results will come."
The 42-year-old coach can only have been buoyed by the performances of his rookie slow bowling duo of debutant legspinner Yasir Shah and left-armer Zulfiqar Babar.
The pair took 14 out of 20 wickets on offer, including nine in the fourth innings as Australia were skittled for 216 when chasing 438.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann bemoaned his team's inability to pick the deliveries that didn't turn.
Australian media suggested number three batsman Alex Doolan's spot might be vulnerable to Phillip Hughes after his struggles in Dubai, but captain Michael Clarke said the only change they would consider would be to bring a third paceman, depending on the pitch.
That would give a chance to either left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc or workhorse Ben Hilfenhaus to join Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson in the pace attack, and mean no repeat for the two specialist spinners in Nathan Lyon and Steven O'Keefe.
Where Pakistan's spinners plundered Australia, both Lyon and O'Keefe, who made his test debut in Dubai, were feasted upon by the hosts' batsmen, and neither would feel very secure about holding their place.
Clarke said Australia would be go for broke for a win, even if it meant risking another demoralising loss.
"Drawing the second test against Pakistan is not an option for us," Clarke wrote in a column published in News Ltd media on Wednesday.
"We'll look to bat with more intent this time around."