Australia lose Test series to Pakistan

Michael Ramsey
Australia lose Test series to Pakistan

Australia's grim prospects ahead of the home summer were writ large as seamer Mohammad Abbas ripped through the tourists in Abu Dhabi to clinch the series 1-0 for Pakistan with a crushing 373-run victory in the second Test.

Chasing a whopping 538 to win, a deflated Australia lost Usman Khawaja to a significant knee injury and then suffered their fourth-highest losing Test margin in terms of runs after being bowled out for 164 midway through day four.

Man of the match Abbas continued his phenomenal series to snare 10 wickets across both innings as Australia fell short of their first Test series victory in Asia since 2011.

It is Pakistan's biggest-ever winning Test margin by runs, eclipsing their previous best which they also achieved against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014.

Serious questions will linger about how Australia managed to end up so far behind the game after an inspired Nathan Lyon spell left Pakistan reeling at 5-57 in the first innings.

Australia's bowlers failed to press their advantage after Lyon's brilliance, and the 145 put on in reply was their fourth-lowest first innings total in Asia.

"It's bitterly disappointing, no doubt," skipper Tim Paine said.

"We had some momentum from the first Test, started really well here and then from 5-57 it went a bit pear-shaped to be honest all over the field.

"It's hard to swallow. We weren't up to it."

Australia resumed at 1-47 on Friday with hopes of at least putting up a fight after showing tremendous mettle to secure a draw in the first Test in Dubai.

But on a day that began with news Khawaja had torn the meniscus in his left knee, the Australians looked drained and down for the count.

Travis Head's nick to Abbas on 36 in the seventh over of the day sparked a woeful collapse of 4-7 in 26 balls.

"There's no doubt this has been happening for too long for the Australian cricket team, not just our Test team but probably domestically," Paine said.

"There's a lot of collapses throughout our batting group and I think a lot of it can be technical."

Much of the focus has been on the poor form of 35-year-old Shaun Marsh, who is under serious pressure to hold his spot for the home summer, but his younger brother Mitchell barely fared better in his first series as joint vice-captain.

Paine's dismissal was the worst of the lot, the skipper failing to offer a shot to a delivery which angled back into the right-hander and knocked over his off stump.

Rookie batsman Marnus Labuschagne fought grimly in just his second Test to top-score with 43 before becoming the fifth Abbas victim for the day.

Khawaja was expected to be sidelined for up to six weeks after scans revealed he had torn the meniscus in his left knee and was likely to require surgery.

The 31-year-old failed to bat in the second innings and did not field on day three after twisting his left knee awkwardly during a throwing drill in the warm-up.

At the very least, Khawaja faces an uphill battle to be available when Australia host India in the first of four Tests starting December 6.