Cricket: Pakistan v Australia Test Series Preview

Pakistan v Australia, three-match Test series 

March 4 – March 25, 2022 

First Test, March 4-8

Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi (5am UK)

For well documented security reasons, Australia have not toured Pakistan in almost 25 years. They won a three-match series by the narrowest of margins on that occasion when their team, including the likes of Mark Taylor, Justin Langer, the Waugh twins and Glenn McGrath, ruled the world.

One name sticks out there doesn’t it. Justin Langer. 

Australia’s former opening batter and now former coach, with the West Aussie having resigned from his post last month.

Andrew McDonald has taken over as interim coach for this tour, which also includes a limited overs leg.

Given the circumstances of his departure, with player power seemingly at play amidst suggestions of Langer’s intense style of coaching wasn’t going down well, it could actually help Ashes winners Australia on this tour.

But Pakistan have proved formidable at home in the handful of games played since moving their home series back from the UAE in late 2019.

They have won four of five Tests played in Rawalpindi and Karachi against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South Africa, drawing the other.

Two sides difficult to split, pointing to a bet365 price boost

Not only have Pakistan won four of their last five Tests at home, they have also won seven of their last eight Test Matches anywhere since late January 2021.

Now, stats can be deceptive to a degree. That run includes games against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, though they have beaten South Africa at home and drew in the West Indies, against whom they suffered their only loss on that tour.

Australia are a completely different level of opposition, and are coming off the back of a 4-0 series Ashes win at home.

Both sides are packed with quality, and I think will win at least a Test apiece, leading me towards the price boosted 5/1 – from 15/4 – that bet365 are offering on the series to finish 1-1 correct score. 

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Opening Test at Rawalpindi offers hope to seamers

In the last Test at Rawalpindi, against South Africa last February, seamers Anrich Nortje and Hassan Ali (twice) claimed five-wicket hauls.

And in the last Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (four-day first-class) match there, albeit in October 2018, it was similarly seam dominant with three five-fors taken by quicks and two other four-fors.

Betfair have priced spinner Nathan Lyon as their 2/1 favourite to be Australia’s leading wicket-taker in the first innings of the first Test, but I would be going with the next best on that list, their captain Pat Cummins at 11/4 .

Cummins was the leading wicket-taker in the Ashes with 21 and looks set to continue that kind of form.

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