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Pakistan adamant on challenging hot favourites Australia in Adelaide
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Pakistan adamant on challenging hot favourites Australia in Adelaide

Pakistan were no match against the clinical hosts in the first Test at Gabba. Often bowling attacks have stepped up to salvage Pakistan in an event of collapse but it has now become an even-steven situation as both departments specialists seek each other's help in a crisis. 

Australia are not tinkering with their winning combination while the touring party are contemplating adding Mohammad Abbas to the mix in place of Imran Khan—who failed to make inroads after successful tour games. Abbas has 66 wickets to his name that he bagged in just 14 Tests.

Pakistan would be hoping Abbas lives up to the billing. Also, given Haris Sohail's troubles with the bounce on lively tracks, the southpaw could make way for Imam-ul-Haq or less likely Abid Ali. 

"Definitely there will be some changes," Azhar Ali remarked on the team line-up. And when asked whether Abbas would feature in the second Test, he answered: "Yes."

James Pattinson is now available for selection after getting banned for one match following the use of profane language against a player in a domestic game but Justin Langer, head coach of Australia, doesn't see a need to alter the XI that downed Pakistan with minimal fuss.

Pink ball perplexions  

India made pink-ball Test a big deal like Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. The razzmatazz around Adelaide Oval pink-ball Test isn't that huge because it is not the first time these sides will be contesting in a day-night game and also it is a tough ask to beat the enthusiasm and sheer size of cricket audience in India.

Pink ball generally swings more early on; something the pace attacks of both teams would like to pounce on which makes it incumbent upon the openers to bat with a lot more caution. Apart from this, sighting the ball under lights can be a bit problematic as it was for the batsmen in the India-Bangladesh Test. 

Once the ball goes through the wear and tear, players have a slightly higher chance of failing to locate the ball in flight. Also, few indentations on the pitch and extra moisture will further assist the pacers.

Pakistan woke up from their slumber when matters went out of their hands in the Test series opener. They mustered 335 in the second innings but the colossal burden of the gigantic trail coupled with bullish Aussie bowling attack - toughened up after fiercely competitive Ashes series - meant there was no leeway available for the gentle visitors.

Babar Azam thirst for runs is growing and it was conspicuous by his dogged century in the second innings. The vice-captain made a swift adjustment to the flaw in his batting approach and was disciplined with his shot selection second-time around. 

Wiry bowler Naseem Shah showed signs of great promise with his raw pace and searing bumpers but he clearly lacks experience at the international level and Misbah-ul-Haq is worried about managing his workload as well owing to the age factor. Thus, we can't rule out the possibility of Musa Khan making a debut tomorrow. Come to think of it, with this unsettled bowling attack, it is equivalent to bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Steve Smith got dismissed on just four runs and an animated send-off by Yasir Shah has sparked a rivalry between the two as the leggie gestured seven with his fingers, reminding Smith that he outgunned him on seven occasions. 

The staggering Aussie giant played-down the odd early dismissal as a sign of worry and alluded to the case of playing risk-free cricket because of Australia's strong position - thanks to Marnus Labuschagne's 185 - at that stage of the game. Smith said he is more motivated by Yasir's celebration and will bat with a bit more discipline against the leg spinner and so it remains to be seen who will have the last laugh.

To make a dramatic turnaround, Pakistan would need to play out of their skins to break the losing steak of 13 Tests in Australia. It boils down to taking early strikes and making effective use of the new ball that wasn't the case at Gabba where the heavy top three annihilated undercooked bowling attack.

"If we want to pick up 20 wickets we have to execute our plan perfectly," added Azhar.

Squads

Australia: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner

Pakistan: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan senior, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashid Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah