Pakistan vs Australia – Clarke expects Pakistan fightback
Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke expects Pakistan to fight back strongly in this week’s second Test at Headingley.
Pakistan have endured a torrid few days after their 150-run thrashing in the opening game of the two-match neutral series was followed by the sudden Test retirement of captain Shahid Afridi.
Salman Butt, who was absolved of criticism at Lord’s after hitting 63 and 92, has taken over as skipper for the second encounter in Leeds and is 13/8 to score another first innings 50, and 5/1 to hit a century.
And 29-year-old Clarke is anticipating a reaction. He said: “Losing your captain can be quite a change. I don’t know what Salman will be like as a captain but as a batsman he is very talented.”
Clarke underperformed at Lord’s, scoring just 47 and 12, and will be determined to improve up north – he’s 6/5 to get to 50 on the first occasion he steps out in Yorkshire.
Australia are hoping seamer Ben Hilfenhaus overcomes a shoulder injury to feature while Marcus North missed practice on Monday with a stomach upset.
Should those two play it seems likely a Pakistan wicket will fall with under 29.5 runs on the board – a 5/6 chance.
Meanwhile, assistant coach Ijaz Ahmed has urged Pakistan to bounce back at Headingley.
Ijaz said: “We had a meeting and told the boys it is a do-or-die game for us.”
Despite an inexperienced middle order Ijaz points out that the bowlers also need to improve for Pakistan to have a chance of drawing the series.
He said: “The key bowler is Mohammad Asif, who can seam it around. He really bowled well in the first Test.”
Pakistan took Shane Watson’s wicket in the first innings at Lord’s with just eight Australian runs posted – a wicket before the ‘away’ side get to 38.5 is a tempting 5/6 price.
Afridi, who said he would retire from Test cricket after the Australia series, will miss the match with a side strain, with his place in the side possibly going to all-rounder Shoaib Malik. See the full Pakistan v Australia match betting market.