Australia v Pakistan Second Test Betting: Abbas back as visitors need pink ball help

Mohammad Abbas
Abbas returns

Ed Hawkins previews game two from Adelaide under lights from early on Friday and uncovers batting value...

"The only hope for Pakistan of getting a foothold in the game is to be bowling at dusk, the time when the pink ball swings most"

Australia v Pakistan
Friday 29 November 03.30
TV: live on Sky Sports

Australia awesome

Australia romped to their seventh home win in the last two years (11 matches, two draws) at The Gabba in the first Test. It was also there 67th win against an Asian team on their own patch out of 99. The chasm between the two styles is likely to be extended in game 100.

In Brisbane, it was a case of if Steve Smith doesn't get you, David Warner or new superstar Marnus Labuschagne will. Warner was at his bullish best but the emergence of Labuschagne - who was excellent in the Ashes - gives Australia three batters in their front four who will put the fear into bowling units.

Combine that with the best pace attack in the world - Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood - and Pakistan will be forgiven for feeling blessed this is a two-game series.

Probable XI Warner, Burns, Labuschagne, Smith, Head, Wade, Paine, Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood, Lyon

Pakistan try again

It is tough to look for positives after defeat by an innings and five runs. But for Pakistan there at least two reasons to be hopeful.

The most important one is that they now have an opportunity to pick their best bowler. Lord only knows why they decided to leave out seam and swing artist Mohammad Abbas for Brisbane. Perhaps they felt he would be on a hiding to nothing on flat, hard surface. Adelaide should be more to his liking.

Secondly, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan showed skills to notch a century and 95 respectively in the second innings. Sure, the runs were cheap because the game was up but they'll take anything at this stage.

Abbas, expected to replace Imran Khan, won't be the only change. Haris Sohail is expected to make way for the organised and stroke-laden Imam-ul-Haq. It's another smart move. Imam will open, allowing Azhar Ali to bat at No 3 away from the new ball.

Naseem Shah, the 16-year-old, was eased into action on his Test debut. He did get it down at a good rate. Pakistan are pondering whether to rest him for another teenager, Musa Khan, 19. He's not as quick as Shah, though.

Probable XI Masood, Imam, Azhar, Shafiq, Babar, Iftikhar, Rizwan, Yasir, Afridi, Abbas, Shah

Flippping important

There have been seven day Tests played at Adelaide in the last ten years and three day-night Tests. Of the seven day games, only two were draws. Four were won by the side batting first. The first-innings scores in those seven are: 230-517-570-550-604-245-451. In the day-night Tests the first-innings scores were: 442-225-202. The 442 was by Australia in the Ashes in 2017. They won. The other two scores were losers.

Danger at dusk

Australia are 1/31.33, Pakistan 8/18.8 and the draw 6/17.20. We're not going to kid ourselves that the tourists are a let-it-run wager. It's even doubtful whether they are worth a nibble in-running.

The only hope for Pakistan of getting a foothold in the game is to be bowling at dusk, the time when the pink ball swings most. It might be possible, depending on how many Australia have already plundered, to nick a couple of points.

That information may be more useful if Pakistan, on a flat wicket, can dig in before the likely procession when Cummins et al start to wreak havoc under lights. Australia are strangely 'big', considering they were fours on for Brisbane. The impact of the pink ball is discussed in our pod, Cricket...Only Bettor this week.

Solid Smith

What could turn out to be a Holy Trinity for Australia - Smith, Warner and Labuschagne - dominate the top-bat market for Australia in the first dig. They are 7/4, 3/1 and 4/1 respectively with Betfair Sportsbook. For Pakistan, Azhar has appeal at 7/2 because there's nop evidence favourite Babar should be as skinny as 2/1. Asad Shafiq, whose grit landed a winner in game one, is 4/1. To highlight the insanity of leaving out Abbas, he is installed as 5/2 favourite for top Pakistan bowler in the first innings.

One of the safest wagers is snaffling the 5/6 that Sportsbook offer about Smith notching a first-innings half-century. He should be heavy odds-on on the two-year form and, after a failure at The Gabba, he looks dangerous.

Ed Hawkins P-L

2019: +41.17pts
2018: +23.53pts
2017: +12pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l

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