Venue: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Date: Friday, November 29 – Tuesday, November 3, 2019
The Australians continued their domination of the tourists in the first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane last weekend. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Pakistan were bowled for 240 in 86.2 overs with Mitchell Starc continuing his fine form in tacking 4/52. Australia then opened up on the Pakistani bowling attack in reply, slugging the ball for 580 runs in 157.4 overs with Mamus Labuschagne top-scoring with a sensational 185 runs off of 279 balls.
Needing a huge score to avoid an innings defeat, Pakistan rallied and looked like they would get over that total as Babar Azam knocked a solid 104. Alas, it was not to be for the visitors, however, as the hosts – powered by Josh Hazlewood and his 4/63 stint – bowled Pakistan out for 335. This meant Australia won by an innings and five runs.
One of the more interesting subplots in this game will be the battle between Australian batsman Steve Smith and Pakistani bowler Yasir Shah. Shah bowled Smith for just four runs off of nine balls in the only innings that the Aussies got to bat in Brisbane, then held up seven fingers to Smith after the delivery as he was walking off of the pitch. Those seven fingers represent the number of times Shah has had Smith’s number and got him out in Test cricket. Expect to see an especially motivated – and disciplined Smith – whenever he is at the crease this weekend.
The bowling selection will be an interesting one for Australia now that James Pattinson is available again following his ban. Nathan Lyon – the only specialist spinner in the lineup – could be dropped in favour of an all-pace attack that would seem perfect for the unique makeup of this Test.
There are some selection questions for Pakistan after their failure to even make Australia bat twice at the Gabba. Don’t be shocked to see a recall to the team for opening batsman Imam-ul-Huq, while Mohammad Abbas is tipped to be included as the Pakistani selectors like the idea of his ability with the pink ball.
Abbas is a tricky bowler who took 17 wickets the last time he faced Australia and – while he is far from the fastest bowler out there – he uses length and pitch just about as well as anyone in the Pakistani bowling picture.
The odds aren’t good for Pakistan in this day/night game as Australia has never lost a pink-ball match since the introduction of the format back in 2015. The Aussies are 5-0 in such games and have looked dominant under the lights. While day/night cricket is a different beast, it is a beast that Australia are very good at dealing with, hence they are the overwhelming favourites at BetXchange.
Looking at the other markets, we like Steve Smith to be Man of the Match here at 5.00. He has been in good form – other than last week – and a determined Smith is one that Pakistan should fear. We also like Mitchell Starc to come out of a crowded field to be the Aussie’s best first innings bowler at 2.50.