Only two weeks ago Australia were planning an assault on the Test World number one spot as they approached their test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates with rightful confidence.
Pakistan have outplayed Australia in both Test matches in the series, executing their skills perfectly with both bat and ball, as they completed a 2-0 whitewash with ease. It was only the second ever whitewash against Australia by a Pakistan side. Their emphatic performances have catapulted them up to third place in the World Test rankings, behind opponents Australia and the table-topping South Africans.
This tour has to rank alongside the worst Australian tours in recent times. Once again Australia have found Asian conditions beyond them just like many of the Australian teams before them.
Even the great Australian sides of the past have found places like India and Pakistan difficult to conquer and quite often it has been the last place they have achieved victory. Now the United Arab Emirates can be added to that list. Australia’s second Test defeat was their tenth in 15 Tests in Asia since 2007. Their only victory coming in Galle against Sri Lanka in 2011.
Since moving to the United Arab Emirates Pakistan have felt at home in Test matches and now have series victories against Australia and England, without losing a Test, under their belt.
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Pakistan completed their series victory in the second Test with a resounding 356-run victory following on from their resounding 221-run win in the first Test in Dubai. In both matches Pakistan were able to bat Australia almost into submission as they amassed huge first innings scores, mainly thanks to Younis Khan, which afforded their bowling line-up time to execute their plans.
This they did almost perfectly as they bowled Australia out relatively cheaply in their first innings in both games. Australia struggled against Pakistan’s spin attack and in turn were lifeless with their own bowling.
After such a poor batting and bowling performance in the first innings of either match it was impossible for Australia to arrest their slide towards defeat but the margin of victory was a shock to many.
So what now?
They must re-group quickly as they embark on a T20 and ODI home series against South Africa starting tomorrow. This will be crucial to their World Cup preparations and we know that South Africa will not give them an easy ride.
The Test match side will then be back in action as they face India, luckily on home soil, in a four-Test series starting In December.
Once the Indian series has been completed Australia will concentrate fully on the World Cup which they are co-hosting in February and March. They will be one of the favourites to be crowned World champions but their players, or those who have been scarred by this Pakistan series, will need to put behind them their poor tour to the UAE and do it fast.
On this evidence Australia are a long way behind South Africa in the Test rankings and the World number one Test spot is a distant dream currently.
One team that will be looking on with great interest at recent results and performances will be England who will be planning ahead to The Ashes, which takes place next summer, with renewed optimism given Australia’s abject surrender against Pakistan.
However, they will also be wary knowing that a wounded Australia are not to be taken lightly particularly in totally different conditions in England.
World Test rankings
1: South Africa 124 points
2: Australia 117 points
3: Pakistan 105 points
4: England 104 points
5: Sri Lanka 101 points
6: India 96 points
7: New Zealand 93 points
8: West Indies 75 points
9: Zimbabwe 39 points
10: Bangladesh 19 points
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