Optimism remains even after Australia falters in Test

AS DISMAL as they have been, Australia's performances in the two Tests against Pakistan in the UAE have not shown us anything we didn't know.

We already knew that opening batsman David Warner (239 runs at 60) was world class, and that fast bowler Mitchell Johnson (6-177 at 29.5) is also one of the best in the business.

We also knew that debutant Mitchell Marsh (pictured) can become one of the best all-rounders in the game, although he failed to take a wicket on the unresponsive decks.

His batting, however, suggested he could eventually hold down a spot at the top of the order as Shane Watson has done so successfully.

And it seems everyone except the selectors knew that Glenn Maxwell was not a No.3 Test batsman, although perhaps they gave him one opportunity to confirm that in their own minds.

Since Shane Warne retired in 2007, Australia has won just one of 15 Tests in Asia, highlighting our spin deficiencies.

Nathan Lyon has returned 3-422 against Pakistan, on wickets where their spinners have thrived.

His position going forward is surely in doubt, as are those of veteran opener Chris Rogers (88 runs at 22), and paceman Peter Siddle (2-217 at 54).

With players such as Watson, Shaun Marsh and Patrick Cummins on the comeback trail after injuries, and also James Pattinson next year, there is no cause for concern, and plenty of reason for optimism.

Pakistan won the second Test in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Australia lost five wickets for eight runs in 42 balls after lunch and was bowled out for 246 to lose by 356 runs.

- APN SPORTS BUREAU


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