The biggest factor in Pakistan winning the series, according to captain Sarfraz Ahmed. World-class, according to Tim Paine, the defeated Australian captain.
And they were just the ones playing. Abbas won praise from all over the world, from Shahid Afridi (“he’s a gem”), to Paul Collingwood (“unplayable”), to Dale Steyn, who tipped him to be the No 1 Test bowler soon.
“He was the shining light on this tour,” Paine said of Khawaja, who now faces a lay-off with a knee injury.
“He had some question marks over his ability in these conditions, but the way he played in the first Test was outstanding. We hope he doesn’t miss too much time because he is in such a good place with his batting.”
Not universally expected to excel on debut, given his method is widely thought to favour limited-overs cricket rather than the long form.
Two half-centuries in Abu Dhabi suggest he does have what it takes to thrive in the Test game, too, though.
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Across the two Tests, the older Marsh brother posted scores of 7, 0, 3 and 4. Neither did he manage a catch or a run out. There is no way to dress up that series positively.
The 35-year-old left-hander must be fearing his days as a Test cricketer are now numbered.
“He has not won us a game in two years,” Mickey Arthur said of Wahab back in April, explaining the decision to drop him from the national team.
He looked no nearer doing so on his return to the side in Dubai, and made way for debutant Mir Hamza in the capital.
This was an odd series for the tourists. A batsman – Marnus Labuschagne – finished top of the bowling averages, while Shaun Marsh, their senior batsman, finished below all the bowlers in the batting averages.
Worryingly, their second spinner, Holland, was similarly way off in the bowling charts. His four wickets cost 75 apiece.