Cricket round-up: Peter Siddle targets Pakistan’s ‘older blokes’ in Dubai Test

Australia fast bowler is determined to account for the wickets of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan. In other news, West Indies cricket board surveys the damage from India tour exit.

Peter Siddle says he must use the new ball well on the Dubai pitch. Francois Nel / Getty Images
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DUBAI // Australia’s front-line paceman Peter Siddle is targeting the experienced duo of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan in the first Test against Pakistan starting in Dubai on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old bowler is likely to share the new ball with the livelier Mitchell Johnson on a dry Dubai stadium pitch, which will have little to offer the fast men on either side.

But Siddle said on Monday that getting 10 wickets would be key.

“We need to get 10 wickets. It does not matter which ones we get, but there are a few older blokes in the middle – Younis and captain Misbah – they are going to be tough ones out there,” Siddle said.

“We always want to put pressure on the captain and they are the players we are looking obviously to get on top of and that will give confidence to everyone else as well.”

Pakistan’s fragile batting was exposed in the preceding 3-0 one-day series loss and will be under pressure as Misbah has been struggling with his batting form, having scored only 67 in his past four Test innings.

Siddle stressed that it would be important to use the new ball well on the Dubai pitch, known for helping the spinners more.

“I did not have a look at the wicket today. I think using the new ball well will be important and you need to get a few breakthroughs, and obviously reverse swing and spin is going to play a part,” Siddle said.

Pakistan have not beaten Australia in a Test series since their 1-0 home win in 1994 and Australia have won 13 of the 14 Tests played between the two sides.

Siddle said Australia’s defeat in the four-day warm-up game against Pakistan A stood for little. “You never want to lose a match,” Siddle said of the 153-run defeat in Sharjah.

“It was disappointing, and it is sure we never want to lose any match, whether we are playing just a practice match, a first class standard or a Test match side.

“It was disappointing for the result, but all in all we did get to play everyone in the squad and sometimes you don’t get that opportunity in a lot of tours.”

Siddle hinted that Australia might play two spinners in Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe in the first Test.

Pakistan will also likely include uncapped leg-spinner Yasir Shah and left-armer Zulfiqar Babar in their starting 11.

The second Test will be played in Abu Dhabi from October 30.

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis said Australia’s Sharjah defeat helped him find some flaws in the opposition for the first Test. “It’s quite nice to see them lose,” Waqar said.

“It was good to see youngsters doing well there and, yes, it definitely has given us an edge or a boost, because we have seen some weaknesses which can be good for us in the Tests.”

But Waqar warned his team should not take Australia for granted. “They have just won a series here,” Waqar said of Australia’s 3-0 win in the preceding one-day series.

“They know how to bat here, have played here, but we have our plans for the day after tomorrow and we will try to execute them.”

Waqar, appointed coach in May, said Johnson will be a key factor in the two-match Test series.

“There is no doubt that Johnson will be an X-factor,” he said of the fiery left-arm paceman who took six wickets in the two one-day matches he played in the UAE.

“He [Johnson] is the most improved bowler in the last two-three years so he definitely is a threat but we will try our best to tackle him.”

Waqar conceded Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, had the ability to come good in the Tests despite being short on practice.

“I hope the Australians got what they wanted from that practice match. But Clarke getting out – and he hasn’t played for a while – I would say that’s an edge. But we all know he is a classy player, and he can come out and deliver for Australia,” Waqar said.

Clarke scored just 10 and five in the side game after recovering from a hamstring injury sustained in August.

Waqar said Dubai pitches usually helped spinners. “We normally play two spinners here,” he said.

Pakistan, without their lead spinner Saeed Ajmal – suspended over an illegal bowling action last month – is likely to play uncapped leg-spinner Yasir Shah and left-armer Zulfiqar Babar.

The second and final Test will be played in Abu Dhabi from October 30.

West Indies board to meet on Tuesday

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados // West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) officials will meet on Tuesday to consider the ramifications of their squad’s failure to fulfil a contractual obligation with the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

In the aftermath of a decade of almost constant wrangling with the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), the WICB is now on the side of WIPA and the new man at the helm, Wavell Hinds, in an acrimonious fallout with the players over a new deal that was signed between Hinds and WICB president Dave Cameron in September.

Emails between Dwayne Bravo, captain of the West Indies ODI squad, and Hinds reveal a claim by Bravo that the new arrangement significantly reduces international players’ overall compensation.

It is an accusation the WIPA president has rejected.

In communication with Cameron, Bravo claimed the players in India were “disheartened and extremely disappointed” by the refusal of the WICB to abide by their decision that Hinds and his executive can no longer represent them and that they would only have continued with the tour on the basis of the previous ­arrangements.

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