The Pakistan star Australia never saw coming

Michael Ramsey

Underrated and seemingly forgotten in Australia's preparations, Mohammad Abbas had the last laugh when he claimed top honours in Pakistan's Test series victory in the UAE.

Abbas was named man of the series after taking 17 wickets at a remarkable 10.58 with his deceptively dangerous seam bowling.

The medium-pacer crushed any hopes of an Australian fightback in the second Test when he dismissed Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Aaron Finch and Tim Paine in a stunning day-four spell in which the tourists added just seven runs.

South Africa great Dale Steyn led the praise for Abbas after his 10-wicket haul in Abu Dhabi, suggesting he was on course to become the world's No.1-ranked Test bowler.

Australia went to great lengths to prepare for a Pakistan spin contingent led by Yasir Shah, even flying in a pair of Indian wrist-spinners to face in the nets before the first Test.

Abbas was the man of the series for Pakistan. Pic: Getty

But while skipper Tim Paine insisted Australia were ready for Abbas, bowling coach David Saker provided a more illuminating perspective.

"Abbas is so accurate with the ball, and obviously our preparation was more spin-orientated so we've been taken by surprise by the pacer," Saker was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

A relative newcomer to Pakistan's Test side, Abbas - who has now taken 59 wickets at 15.64 - was the best-performed bowler when Pakistan toured England earlier this year.

"It looks like (Australia) hadn't prepared or that they took him a little easy," Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed said after the second Test.

"But credit goes to Mohammad Abbas because the pitch is not suitable for fast bowlers. The way he bowled, he was the best bowler on either side."

Australia's batsmen had few answers throughout the series to Abbas' probing lengths and ability to extract movement off the seam.

Paine conceded Abbas had been able to get under the skin of Australia's batsmen with his consistent lengths.

"I think guys knew what they were going to get ... he bowls pretty much the same day in, day out," Paine said.

"No doubt he's highly skilled and doesn't miss the spot too much. It's just guys that are testing our defence for long enough, whether that's spin or medium pace or quick bowlers are getting rewards.

"I think teams around the world are probably recognising that and knowing if they can just keep at us ... these collapses are happening."