Shane Warne has offered a brutal critique of the Australian Test side, with a big loss to Pakistan looming.
Australia are destined for a humbling defeat in Dubai after suffering another worryingly predictable batting collapse in the first Test.
Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh and Mitch Marsh all fell without Australia adding to their score as the tourists limped to 3-136 at stumps on day four, needing 326 to win.
“I think Australia’s batting at the moment is the worst I have seen it,” Warnie said.
“I hope they stick with Aaron Finch and he continues to makes some runs, he’s someone that could captain the side.”
Australia’s only hope had been to bat for time and grind out a draw after Pakistan set a monster target of 462 but even that result now seems wildly unlikely.
No Test side has ever successfully chased a fourth-innings target greater than 418 anywhere in the world.
Having lost 10-60 in the first dig, Australia added just 64 runs to their second-innings tally and lost three wickets – all to right-arm paceman Mohammad Abbas – during a dismal final session on Wednesday.
Usman Khawaja, who was dropped by Asad Shafiq in the slips off Yasir Shah’s bowling late in the day, was unbeaten on 50 after top-scoring with 85 in the first innings.
Travis Head was 34 not out.
It was a case of deja vu for Australia with Khawaja and Finch (49) digging in before the top and middle order crumbled, led by the Marsh brothers at No.3 and No.4.
Australia advanced to 0-87 before Finch fell lbw to Abbas, the Victorian’s review failing to overturn the decision.
Shaun Marsh nicked behind to Abbas for a second-ball duck and brother Mitch lasted just four deliveries with Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed correctly reviewing a not-out decision for lbw.
The Marsh brothers combined for just 19 runs across two innings while Head narrowly avoided a pair on debut at No.5, surviving a review for lbw to Wahab Riaz.
Serious questions are bound to be asked of the decision to overlook proven Test performers Matthew Renshaw and Glenn Maxwell, both of whom piled on runs in the last Sheffield Shield season.
Pakistan earlier declared at 6-181 in their second innings, extending their lead after inflicting a dramatic first-innings Australian batting collapse.
Tim Paine’s men were dismissed for 202 in a woeful capitulation after Finch and Khawaja’s 142-run opening stand.
Pakistan resumed at 3-45 on Wednesday and left-arm spinner Jon Holland snared two wickets on a deteriorating pitch to finish with 3-83.