Pakistan set to make 2 changes for 2nd test vs Australia
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — The addition of opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq and pace bowler Mohammad Abbas are two changes being considered by Pakistan for the day-night test against Australia beginning Friday at the Adelaide Oval.
Imam, a 23-year-old opening batsman, said Wednesday he was preparing to play but was still unsure if he’ll be required for the second test. Australia won the first test by an innings and five runs at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Pakistan is also tipped to recall Abbas, possibly at the expense of Imran Khan. Abbas, who did not play in the first test for Pakistan, took 17 wickets at an average of 10.58 the last time he played against Australia in the United Arab Emirates.
Australia captain Tim Paine said he was surprised when Abbas was left out, but Pakistan said his recent lack of pace was the reason. Australia scored 580 runs in the Brisbane test.
“Mohammad Abbas is always a very tough competitor and he’s a very class act,” Imam said Wednesday. “His performances and his stats show that ... he’s difficult to judge off the pitch because his ball nips around, especially the new ball. And with a pink ball under lights (he) will be difficult.”
The potential inclusion of Imam, who averages 28.41 in his 10 tests, would prompt a reshuffle in the batting order. Imam has been suggested as a replacement for Haris Sohail, who was dismissed twice — caught behind from Mitchell Starc’s bowling — for scores of one and eight.
Sohail batted third in Brisbane but captain Azhar Ali would likely shift from opener to No.3 if Imam is recalled.
“As a cricket player, as a 15-man squad, you have to be mentally ready (to play) so whenever you get a chance you should be ready,” Imam said.
After Pakistan’s openers put on a 75-run partnership in its first innings, the visitors lost five wickets for 19 runs.
“You play one bad session and you’re all over the place,” Imam said. “We played outstandingly in the first session and they (Australia) were panicked. But they came back really strong.”
Australia coach Justin Langer, meanwhile, said it’s unlikely they’ll be any changes to his side.
“The boys all played well (in Brisbane), they had a day off having finished in four days,” Langer said Wednesday. “We haven’t had a look at the wicket yet ... but my gut feel is we’ll probably go with the same XI.”