CricketIt all began before Dubai’s first test. Australia faced Pakistan A at Sharjah in a 4-day game, beginning October 15. Having won the ODI series 3-0 earlier, Australia wouldn’t have thought much of this match. Going into the longer version of the game was like extending their winning streak against he younger Pakistanis, before the 2-match test series began in Dubai on October 22. After all, Aussies had already come back into test reckoning after their Ashes win at home, when everything seemed lost. When England arrived in Australia after their victorious performance against the Aussies in the English summer, Australia had a bad press chasing them after their Indian debacle of 2013. But they turned the tables on England and followed the Ashes win with a fine show against South Africa. They had the strengths of Mitchell Johnson’s bowling, David Warner’s batting and Michael Clarke’s thinking captaincy on the field. Therefore, everything about Australian cricket pointed to an Australian superiority. But what happened at Sharjah and later in Dubai & Abu Dhabi was beyond Australia’s wildest dreams. In Sharjah’s 4-day game Pakistan A beat Australia by 153 runs and when the test series got underway, Australia were so completely outplayed that it would take a long time for them to recover from the shock. Pakistan thrashed them by 221 runs at Dubai and handed them an unprecedented 356-run defeat at Abu Dhabi.

Batting first after winning the toss, Pakistan A lost two quick wickets to Johnson and Siddle but Ahmed Shehzad and Babar Azam didn’t allow any further damage and carried the score to 98 before Shehzad fell for a patiently compiled 55. Even after Babar Azam got out after scoring 40, the innings was already back on track and it was time for skipper Asad Shafiq to take control. Shafiq and Haris Sohail added 100 runs for fourth wicket with wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal making a useful contribution, Pakistan A declared at 305/8 at the end of day 1. Shafiq remained unbeaten on 108. Australia replied in identical fashion, losing a few early wickets but a century by Alex Doolan and contributions from Steven Smith and Brad Haddin helped them declare at 273/8 on second day. On day 3, Pakistan lost three wickets for 87 but there were two unbeaten centurions to prevent further damage. Babar Azam made 114 and Sohail 103. On the final day, Australia began with a victory target of 339 and lost 3 wickets for 49. Later, despite Phillip Hughes’ 65, Australian batsmen fell prey to spin and reverse swing, losing the match by a whopping 153 runs.

In the first test at Dubai, Pakistan batted first after winning the toss. Siddle and Johnson scalped two Pakistan wickets for just 7 runs in fourth over. But subsequent Pakistan batsmen countered Aussie bowling attack admirably. Everyone batted well beginning with Azhar Ali but the best performances came from Younis Khan and Sarfraz Ahmed, both of whom scored centuries. Asad Shafiq added 89 and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq another 69. Pakistan finished their innings at 454 on second day. In reply, Australia began with a century stand between David Warner and Chris Rogers. Warner scored a 174-ball 133 but once Rogers was out, Doolan and Clarke also fell in quick succession. After a brief recovery, two more wickets fell and Australia were reduced to 207/5 in 66.3 overs. After warner got out, more wickets fell and Aussies were all out for 303. With 13 overs left on day 3, Pakistan made 38/0. On fourth day, Pakistan lost opener Azhar Ali at 71 but Younis Khan came up with another brilliant century and he was joined by Ahmed Shehzad, who made 131. Batting with a clear purpose, Pakistan declared after 78 overs for 286/2 and set a victory target of 438 for Australia. After a 44-run start from Rogers and Warner, Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah had the Australians in a soup. From 44/0, Australian innings slumped to 49/4 with all their top batsmen gone. Despite later order resistance from Smith and Johnson, Australian innings folded at 216, for a 221-run Pakistani victory.

In Abu Dhabi’s second test, Pakistan batted first once again and despite losing two early wickets, the middle order produced two centuries from Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali and a double century by Younis Khan. A 236-run third wicket stand, followed another of 181 for the fourth, saw Pakistan reaching 570/6 declared. They ended the second day with the wicket of Chris Rogers. Some irresponsible Australian batting and clever Pakistan bowling ended day 3 with Australia getting all out for 261. Pakistan didn’t enforce the follow on and batted again in ODI style to score 293/3 in 60.4 overs. Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali scored back-to-back centuries. Haq scored an identical 101 while Azhar Ali remained not out on 100. With a monumental 603-run victory target on day 4, Australia began by losing 3 wickets for 43 and succumbed to the relentless Pakistani bowling attack of Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah. Together, Babar and Shah took 8 Australian wickets as the innings ended at 246. The 356-run defeat margin in the second test was too humiliating. In a great turnaround for Pakistan after their ODI defeat, Younis Khan proved his worth by scoring a double century, two centuries and 46 in the remaining innings that he played. The shocked Australians were lost for words at the end of the series, while the joy for Pakistan knew no bounds.