Real battle starts in Sharjah

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Real battle starts in Sharjah

Pakistan have a knack of doing well at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium because they know the conditions better than their rivals.

By Liaqat Ali

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Published: Tue 28 Aug 2012, 9:59 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:33 PM

But Australia will be a tough nut to crack on Tuesday night amid hot and humid conditions.

Batting has always remained a worry for Pakistan as coach Dave Whatmore said on Sunday that they snatched defeats out of the jaws of victory against Sri Lanka during the recently concluded series which they lost 4-1.

Younus Khan’s absence is another cause of concern for the hosts because the dependable Khan used to build the innings whenever the openers failed to fire.

Australian stand-in coach Steve Rixon was surprised by this decision.

Kamran Akmal’s inclusion definitely gives Pakistan more options but their middle order looks brittle. They have to come up with a positive approach to counter the bowlers like James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc who have won the game for Australia against the brave Afghanistan on Saturday night.

The main weapon for Pakistan will be their spinners. Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Mohammed Hafeez can be a threat to any batting line in the world.

Pakistan were on the verge of losing 4th one-dayer against Sri Lanka at Sharjah in November 2011 when a half-fit Afridi won the game for his country in a dramatic fashion. Pakistan will be looking for such a performance from the all-rounder.

Saeed Ajmal will be the key for Pakistan. He is a much improved bowler now and the slow nature of the wicket will definitely suit him.

On the other hand Australia will be desperate to win the series against Pakistan.

They have lost the No 1 ranking after losing 4-0 away to England.

Whatmore believes the Australians are vulnerable following a recent string of injuries and player retirements.

“They are licking their wounds from recent performances. But at the same time we know they are a talented bunch of cricketers and can come back pretty sharply, pretty hard to try and reverse that trend.”

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