NO matter what the outcome of this game, the thing which has impressed us all here is the manner in which debutant opener Fakhar Zaman and pacer Mohammad Abbas have performed, proving to the world that they are no fluke and are here to stay in five-day cricket.
Having sustained the most critical phases of this Test in the past two days, they have shown to us the kind of temperament and calmness as if they have been in the game for ages.
Fakhar, with his unflinching batting style, have already notched up two scores of over 50 while nearly missing out on a debut ton in the first innings. It shows that like Abbas he has the ability to stay in the game for a long while and keep the Pakistan flag flying at all levels of the game.
Whereas Fakhar can attack and defend to suit the situation, whether he is in the shorter format of the game or in a Test, Abbas’s approach is based on the principle of run silent and run deep to inflict painful blows on the opposition.
While Fakhar’s exuberant strokemaking display all round the wicket would devastate any bowling attack, Abbas’ is a quiet presence on the field till the time he gets ball in his hands and begins to cast a spell of magical line and length which has reaped him rich rewards. On Wednesday, too, he bagged yet another haul of five wickets by applying constant pressure on the Australian batsmen.
His record since he entered the international arena last year is phenomenal to say the least as is that of Fakhar who experienced a rare failure in last month’s Asia Cup.
On Thursday, if everything goes Pakistan’s way, they would put the visitors even under more pressure to leave them with a huge target to chase on a wicket that has all the characteristics of producing a result.
Sailor as he was in the Pakistan Navy, he sailed along with such ease to bag yet another impressive score of 66 in the second innings. In the first innings too, we all admired his tenacity in a real crisis situation when like a true mariner he anchored Pakistan in the middle to weather the storm.
Pakistan may have been unlucky in the first Test to not to have come here with a 1-0 advantage, mainly due to the tremendous rearguard that the Australians offered in Dubai. But here in Abu Dhabi, it looks favourable for a Pakistan to force a win unless they drastically falter on the way.
Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2018