| WAQAR: Promises better show
Sharjah: Australia are aiming for a clean sweep of their three-Test series against Pakistan, but expects the Pakistanis to give them a better run for their money in the final Test beginning on Saturday.
“No, we don’t think it (Pakistan’s collapse) will happen again,” Australian team manager Steve Bernard said Thursday.
In the second Test here, Pakistan were bowled out for record lows of 59 and 53, crashing to an innings and 198-run defeat inside two days.
The Australians are overwhelming favourites to win the series 3-0, having won the first Test in Colombo by 41 runs. But they are not taking the Pakistanis for granted in the final five-day encounter.
“They will regroup and, as they showed in the first Test, they are capable of doing better,” Bernard said of the Pakistanis.
For the final Test, Pakistan will be reinforced by the flamboyant allrounder Shahid Afridi, who replaces the injured Abdul Razzaq, and by the recovery of wicketkeeper Rashid Latif, who had muscle and ligament problems in the second Test.
Delighted with the awesome all-round show of his team in the second Test, Bernard said it was not the best he has seen from the Australians.
“I thought the players did very well and it was a very good performance. But I have seen the team stretched in other Tests and win.”
Bernard said the pressure on the Waugh twins, captain Steve and Mark, was nothing to worry about. “Everyone’s under pressure and that’s the name of the game,” he said.
Pakistan skipper Waqar Younis has promised a better performance from his young and inexperienced team as the country marks its 50th anniversary of Test cricket this week.
“What happened in the second Test cannot be reversed, but we are now focussed on what lies ahead and we have to work really hard to come back with a far improved performance,” said the experienced speedster.
Pakistan coach Richard Pybus has attempted to defuse the row with former Australia captain Allan Border by insisting his remarks about the Waugh brothers were misinterpreted.
Pybus said on Thursday: “I never meant to indulge in any psychological warfare or criticise the Waugh brothers. It was an observation and nothing else.” (Agencies)