Pakistan captain Azhar Ali has confirmed that pacer Mohammad Abbas will feature in the second and final Test, a day-night affair, of the series against Australia, starting on November 29 in Adelaide.
Pakistan, who are keen to avoid their 14th consecutive defeat in Australia, will look towards Abbas to provide much-needed control in the bowling department.
“He [Abbas] will definitely bring a lot of control … with a bowler of his class you always feel like he has something to offer,” said Ali during a pre-match press conference in Adelaide on Thursday. “He has done well in first-class. He has done well in Test matches.He was worked a lot in the last Test on his rhythm and is feeling much better … We are feeling a lot more confident.”
When Australia captain Tim Paine was asked about his team’s plans to counter the threat posed by Abbas, he said: “We’re as prepared as he can be without facing him. We all know what he does, we’ve got a different side that played against him before. He’s an exceptional bowler, his record would suggest that. We’ve spoken about him.”
“We’ve spoken about the whole team … if we’re not right on top of our game, Abbas and the rest of the side can create you problems,” he added.
The Pakistan skipper also confirmed that he will batting at number three position in the batting order as the visitors will go in with two openers for the encounter. This could potentially mean that left-hander Haris Sohail could face the axe, after failing to impress in the first Test with two low scores. Meanwhile Imamul Haq is likely to partner Shan Masood at the top of the order.
“We will announce the side properly (on Friday),” he said. “We will go with the two openers though and I will come and bat at number three.”
Ali also hinted about resting rookie pacer Naseem Shah for the second Test while heaping praise on team’s other young pacer Musa Khan.
“The good thing about Naseem Shah is that whenever he bowled, he bowled well. The last couple of weeks haven’t been easy for him but we backed him because of his skills. But we have to see what all he’s been through, he’s just 16, very young body. We have to be careful and we don’t want to put too much (pressure) on him,” he said.
“Musa has potential also, he’s short but he’s rapid. He’s another talented guy, he’s very fit and hopefully whenever he gets a chance, he’ll perform. He bowls a lot in the nets but it’s a different thing in Test matches, hopefully if he plays, he’s gonna transfer that into the game. Starting well is important and if he can start well, he can hopefully give us a lot of good overs,” the Pakistan captain added.
Ali, who has outscored every other batsman in pink-ball Tests having accumulated 456 runs at an average of 91 in 6 innings, was hopeful about continuing his good run of form in pink-ball Tests.
Ali, also the only triple centurion in day-night Tests, also holds the record of the highest individual score under lights.
“My pink-ball record, I have played three Test matches and I enjoy that,” he said. “You have to apply yourself differently. There are different times of the game you have to play differently. There is afternoon, evening and then an hour-and-a-half when the lights are impacting. I will look to try and stay on basics again. Hopefully I can perform again like I did in previous Test matches.”