AUSTRALIA’S seven-year wait for a Test series win in Asia goes on after sinking to a 1-0 defeat against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
And if not for Usman Khawaja’s brilliant century in Dubai it could have been a whitewash too. The dashing left-hander was Australia’s standout player for the series while the Marsh brothers were unwitting participants in the fight for worst in show.
With the series over, we take a closer look at how all the players fared.
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AARON FINCH – 7.5
181 runs at 45.25. High score of 62
A commendable series for the debutant who passed 50 in two of his four innings, and was out for 49 in another. Finch finished the series with his reputation enhanced, though will be disappointed not to have turned one of his starts into a truly big innings.
MATCH REPORT: Record-breaking loss extends Australia’s Asian drought
USMAN KHAWAJA – 8.5
229 at 76.33. High score of 141
Khawaja’s series was cruelly brought to an end by injury a week after he produced his finest innings to date – a fighting 141 in Dubai that kept Australia alive in the first Test. The languid left-hander put his struggles in Asia to bed this campaign, with his one low score coming via a strangle down the leg-side. The sooner he is fit again the better for Australia.
SHAUN MARSH – 1
14 runs at 3.50. HS of 7
A series to forget for the older Marsh brother who did not reach double figures in a single innings. A notoriously nervous starter, Marsh was caught between the keeper and cordon in each of his first three innings before having his off-stump pegged back to end his series. The left-hander copped some very good deliveries.
MITCH MARSH – 1.5
30 at 10.00. HS of 13
Two wickets at 49.00. BB 1-21
Elevated to vice-captaincy before the series began, the all-rounder fared marginally better than his older brother. Did not look convincing at No.4 in the first Test and didn’t look any better at No.5 in the second. Although he was unthreatening, he deserves credit for picking up some of the fast-bowling load.
TRAVIS HEAD – 6
122 at 30.50. BB of 72
Out for a duck in his first innings as a Test batsman, Head bounced back with a pivotal second-innings 72 in Dubai that helped save the match. He was not as impressive in the second Test but the potential was there to see.
MARNUS LABUSCHAGNE – 6
81 runs at 20.25. HS of 43
Seven wickets at 22.42. BB of 3-45
He may have been picked for his batting but the part-time leggie was Australia’s most dangerous bowlers going by the statistics, striking every 33.4 deliveries. Took three very good catches as well and chipped in with a run-out. On the flip side of the coin he suffered a properly embarrassing run out in the second Test that put the nail in the coffin of Australia’s innings. Encouragingly Labuschagne looked an improved player each time he came out to bat.
TIM PAINE – 6
71 runs at 23.66. High score of 61 not out.
Five catches, one stumping
Produced a captain’s knock of the highest calibre to secure a thrilling draw in Dubai but only scored 10 runs across his other three innings and his series came to an end with a misjudged leave against Mohammad Abbas. Paine’s keeping was exceptional and worth at least a point.
MITCHELL STARC – 4.5
Four wickets at 44.25. BB of 2-37
It was a tough campaign for the quick who worked hard for his team. He never bowled poorly but he looked far from his dangerous best. Battled hamstring tightness in Abu Dhabi and Australia will be desperate to keep him fit for the home summer.
PETER SIDDLE – 4.5
Three wickets at 56.00. BB of 3-61
Siddle was Australia’s best bowler on the first day of the series but got less effective as the campaign went on, failing to take a wicket across Pakistan’s final three innings. He carried much of the fast-bowling load in the second innings at Abu Dhabi after Starc was hamstrung. Was a little bit guilty of not bowling straight enough, with only 19 per cent of his balls on track to hit the stumps.
NATHAN LYON – 7
12 wickets at 32.08. BB of 4-78
The offie was worked hard by Paine, bowling 147.5 overs for the series – the next most was 78 by Jon Holland. Lyon had Australia dreaming of a rare series win in Asia when he took four wickets across six balls on day one in Abu Dhabi only for the batsmen to botch their lines. Bowled without much luck but still took two four-fors.
JON HOLLAND – 3.5
Four wickets at 75.00. BB of 3-83
Like Lyon, Holland bowled without too much luck and his series could have been entirely different if a couple of calls had gone his way or catches held on to. He did not bowl with the same consistency as Lyon and was targeted by Pakistan’s batsmen, finishing with the highest economy (3.84) of Australia’s specialist bowlers. Notable that Paine called on Labuschagne to bowl as many overs as Holland in Pakistan’s final innings.