Out of the 60 available Australian wickets, Pakistan collected just a tad over half (33); the bowlers averaged 60.54 — the worst ever figures in a three-match series in the country’s history.
Australia declared four out of their five innings in the series finishing the second innings of the Sydney Test by hammering 241 runs at 7.53 runs per over.
As a bowling unit Pakistan bowlers were first razed to the ground before being simply blown away as Steve Smith finally sympathised with the tourists by putting an end to their misery. If given a choice, the bowling attack would have flown home before the second innings even began.
Before the series started, Pakistan’s bowling attack was labelled ‘varied’, ‘skilful’ and ‘good enough to rattle the best in the business on any surface’. By the end of the series that reputation is severely tarnished.
The think-tank has resisted major shuffling in recent years; can they again? This is as stern a test as any.
The bowlers were asked to mirror the ‘dry-up-the-runs’ formula that has worked on the slow, low-bounce UAE pitches. Misbahul Haq, who had captained the team for some six years primarily on the same formula, found it almost impossible to change his approach and tactics.
Yasir Shah started at Brisbane with a six-three leg side field against David Warner and Matt Renshaw; Shane Warne was left screaming in disbelief from the commentary box. Even Warne, and more tellingly Yasir, had given up as Warner tonked him in the SCG stands on day four.
Misbah had a resigned look — albeit the captaincy resignation is still undecided, Yasir kept smiling through his agony, and there was a time during the carnage when even sixty on the leg and thirty fielders on the off would have felt like precious little.
Yasir — for those interested in numbers — picked eight wickets at 84 runs per wicket in the series, his economy rate was 4.53. In the second Sydney innings, he was flayed for 124 runs in 14 overs at 8.85 per over.
On the opening day of the series, Yasir was Misbah’s most potent weapon; at the end he was left on one leg nursing a hamstring niggle.
No one should remind Yasir that the Australian batting line-up he was up against included three brand new players besides the Sydney debutant Hilton Cartwright; he has been scarred enough already.
The fast-bowlers were bitterly disappointing too, Wahab Riaz who had lit up an otherwise drab World Cup in a half-hour adrenaline soaked burst, was supposedly the spearhead who would rattle the Aussies in the long format.
His erring front foot troubled him time and again and despite ferocious speeds, Wahab’s bustling energy gave scant results — 11 wickets at 36.36. Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney weren’t lit up like Adelaide in that Watson spell.
Wahab repeatedly clocked 150 on the speed gun and toiled gainfully on the opening day at Sydney and the second day at Brisbane, while his own misdemeanours with the bowling crease denied him on day three of the Melbourne Test.
Mohammad Amir could have had a bagful of wickets; there were no drops like the England and New Zealand tour, but what could be done about the drops of luck? In fact, the lack of luck left him so disconsolate that he didn’t even bother turning up for the second innings in Sydney, the official reason given was a side strain on his left.
Five wickets at 61.60 — all five in the Brisbane Test — will go down in record books as Amir’s returns on the tour.
Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan and Imran Khan all played the third seamer’s role in a Test each and unfortunately the trio could do precious little in their support acts.
Will we hear the term ‘rebuilding’ bandied around in the coming days and weeks? Your guess is as good as mine.
For now Pakistan have the worst away streak in Test history — 12 consecutive defeats in Australia. For a change the batsmen are not the culprits.