Pakistan v Australia Test - Men's
Paine stumped by latest batting stumble
Skipper says collapses are a feature of both Test and domestic cricket; hopeful of Usman Khawaja’s fitness for Indian series
Louis Cameron in Abu Dhabi
20 October 2018, 07:37 AM AEST
Tim Paine says spots will be up for grabs for the first Test of the home summer after yet another sub-par batting effort led to a crushing defeat in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Pakistan claimed their biggest-ever Test victory inside three-and-a-half days despite being 5-57 during the opening session of the match, as Australia failed to bat longer than 50 overs in both innings.
Australia have now suffered a collapse of 7-75 or worse in half of their last 26 Tests stretching back to the 2016 Sri Lanka tour.
And since the start of the 2015 Ashes, the Aussies have lost all 10 wickets for less than 150 runs on 18 occasions, with 15 of those coming abroad.
"There’s no doubt this (collapses) has been happening for too long for the Australian cricket team," Paine said.
"Not just our Test team but probably domestically, there’s a lot of collapses throughout our batting group and I think a lot of it can be technical.
"Some guys will be mental and other guys will be tactical or your plans not being right for certain bowlers. There’s no shying away from the fact we have a hell of a lot to do on our batting and it’s this team and it’s through the whole country.
"Clearly it would be a pretty exciting time to be a batsman around Shield cricket at the moment if you’re scoring hundreds, there’s no doubt about that. There's opportunity for everyone and the batting group that are here are also a part of that."
Major question marks linger over the fitness of Usman Khawaja and the form of Shaun Marsh, the two most senior batsmen on this tour who were picked to hold together a new-look Australian top-order.
Khawaja is in doubt for the first Test against India early December due to a knee injury while Marsh's return of 0, 7, 4 and 3 has had the likes of Mike Hussey suggesting he could face the axe.
First Test debutants Aaron Finch, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne all showed glimpses of potential and each appear to have the inside running to hold onto their spots, while Matthew Renshaw could also come back into calculations.
Khawaja, whose incredible maiden Test ton in Asia saved the first Test for Australia last week in Dubai, is likely to require surgery on an injured knee, but Paine is hopeful he will return in time for the first Test on December 6.
"Clearly we’ll be doing everything we can to get him up," Paine said. "He was a shining light on this tour.
"He had some question marks over his ability in these conditions and I thought the way he played in the first Test was outstanding and we hope he doesn’t miss too much time because he’s in such a good place with his batting."
Paine defended how his bowlers performed in the two-Test campaign, with Nathan Lyon fairing best with 12 wickets while part-timer Labuschagne was their next best.
Mitchell Starc, Jon Holland and Peter Siddle took 11 wickets at 59 between them, but the captain suggested their batters’ inability to give their bowlers neither runs to play with nor time to rest between innings severely undermined their efforts.
"Our fast bowlers tried their absolute guts out," said Paine.
"It's pretty hard to come out and bowl when you sit down for 30 overs and then you have to go out in these conditions and do it again.
"(Pakistan) want to get our bowlers tired, we haven't been able to get theirs tired at all, that's when you want to be batting. I think we bowled every day of this Test match.
"It's pretty hard for your bowlers to front up day in and day out when your batters aren't getting the job done."
Qantas Tour of the UAE
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc
Pakistan Test squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Hafeez
First Test: Match drawn
Second Test: Pakistan won by 373 runs