Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
Wade unfazed by unseen Pakistan quicks
Test bat prefers to concentrate on his own game instead of his opponents as he prepares to face Pakistan for the first time in three years
Andrew Ramsey at Adelaide Oval
13 November 2019, 07:55 PM AEST
The bowling attack that Pakistan takes into the upcoming Test series will be decidedly different to that which Matthew Wade encountered previously, but he won't be devoting much time to researching his new rivals.
Wade hasn't played Pakistan in Tests since they toured Australia three years ago, given he wasn't part of Tim Paine's outfit that travelled to the UAE for two matches in late 2018.
The left-hander, who remains unsure if he'll bat at number five or six in the Test line-up to be announced tomorrow, admits he used to closely study footage of opposition bowlers to glean how and where they might attack him at the crease.
But in his third iteration as a Test player, and fresh from a memorable century in his most recent outing – against Jofra Archer-led England in the final Ashes Test at The Oval – Wade prefers to focus on his own game rather than his opponents.
As such, he sees the 256-ball innings of 89 he compiled against South Australia in the Marsh Sheffield Shield meeting at Adelaide Oval today as time better spent than trawling through vision of Pakistan's new-look bowling line-up.
With the likes of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz absent from the previous touring Test team, and Pakistan naming young quicks including Shaheen Afridi and teenage pair Musa Khan and Naseem Shah, the visitors carry an air of the unknown.
However, Wade will rely on intelligence shared at Australia's pre-Test team meeting in Brisbane and what he views from the dressing room once the series begins to formulate his plans against the Pakistan bowlers.
"Not as much as what I used to," Wade said when asked if he was a keen student of footage showing upcoming rivals.
"I just find that I've got things that I try and concentrate on rather than what the opposition are doing.
"If there's a bowler with a different action that I need to see, then I'll see a little bit maybe in the team meeting.
"But I don't go really deep into watching them too much, it's just more about what I need to do to get the best out of myself.
"The advantage of batting at five or six is that you get to watch a little bit of it before you go out there anyway.
"So you get to see enough, and I find that's plenty.
"Just speak to the guys that have faced them, and go from there.
"When I was younger I used to watch a lot of footage and it used to do my head in, watching (England's) James Anderson and those blokes knock a heap of left-handers over.
"You're almost beaten before you go out there, so I just concentrate on what I'm doing."
Similarly, Wade is not fussed that he was among the coterie of Test team 'locks' that were not named for the current Australia A team taking on Pakistan in a tour game at Perth Stadium.
While that would have afforded him a chance to re-acquaint himself with the pink ball that will be used in the second match of the Pakistan series – a day-night Test in Adelaide – he feels sufficiently comfortable with that format.
Certainly, his batting in the UK during the Australia A series that preceded the Ashes and the subsequent Tests – book-ended with his centuries in the first and final Tests – indicate he holds few fears against the swinging ball.
And even though the pink Kookaburra ball exhibits different characteristics to the Dukes ball used in the UK, his experience with the Dukes during recent Marsh Sheffield Shield seasons has his confidence high heading into day-night fixtures in Australia.
"That (Australia A) team was picked, I wasn't selected in it and I spoke to Cracker (Trevor Hohns, selection chair) and the reasons I'm not playing that game are fine with me," Wade said today.
"I've played enough with the ball moving.
"The Dukes have made a huge difference to first-class cricket, that ball swings a lot more than what we usually see in Australia.
"It's traditionally more sideways movement with the seam on the Kookaburra, so I feel like I've had a heap of work with the Dukes over here and then Dukes in England as well.
"So I feel comfortable to face the pink ball."
While Wade's uncharacteristically reserved innings at Adelaide Oval today was overshadowed by teammate Alex Doolan's even-more-cautious 170 not out (form 403 balls faced), his decision to declare Tasmania's first innings 145 runs behind has set up an intriguing final day.
SA made their intentions known in the 26 overs they faced prior to stumps on day three, during which rookie opener Henry Hunt (69 from 70 balls) and veteran Callum Ferguson (72 not out from 74) carried the Redbacks to 2-166, with an overall lead of 311.
Wade indicated his team would chase an outright win if the hosts set a realistic target, which might entail a declaration before play starts or after a handful of overs in the morning.
"Whatever we have to chase, we'll chase … but I think around 300 – if we get a good partnership we think we're a chance to chase it," Wade said.
"But it's hard to know, with ring fields and their spinners bowling, it could be challenging.
"If we get to a strong enough position, we can see if we go after them, or if we have to shut up shop."