While everyone else crumbled around him and walked back to the pavilion, it was Cameron Bancroft who struck a lonely figure as he stayed afloat and top-scored with a 155-ball 49 after his team had been reduced to a humiliating figure of 57-9 against a very lethal Pakistani bowling attack.
It might have won him a trip to Brisbane and Adelaide over the next two weeks, but the manner of Australia A’s submission also meant that the visitors now actually believe they’re in with a real chance of winning a series here. Australian captain Tim Paine though dismissed the subsequent naysaying over the overall long-form batting credentials around the country and also warned that Pakistan’s decision to read a lot into the fringe batsmen’s failures against the pink-ball would come at their peril.
“To judge the whole Australian batting group on what’s happened in one session in Perth is a little bit harsh. I think we’ve made some really good strides in hard conditions in England. We’ve unearthed some really good quality cricketers and then Steven Smith and David Warner, we’ve got some really good quality back in our side. So I saw that Pakistan is smelling blood in the water or whatever they said. What happened in Perth has nothing to do with what’s going to happen in Gabba. We start from scratch,” the Test captain said in Adelaide a few hours after the squad was announced in Perth. He even drew comparisons with the infamous loss that his team suffered in Headingley and hos they bounced back from Ben Stokes’s freakish heroics.
“It’s the same with the Headingley Test, momentum and all these words don’t matter. It’s all square at the Gabba next week and we start again,” he added.
Tim Paine had spoken about the need to have batsmen who could succeed the likes of Matthew Wade and Marcus Harris, batsmen who could get a lot of runs into the mix after the Ashes in London.
“I think several guys in this team have scored hundreds this summer in the last 2-3 games. Again we look at one inning, the pink-ball game, which they haven’t played with for a long time in difficult light. It’s a challenge you don’t get that often and those guys haven’t practiced it for more than 12 months. Couple that with some bloody good bowling and that can happen,” he said.
Burns who missed out on selection for the Ashes amidst a lot of voices backing his inclusion, citing his 180 the last time he played a Test match, did receive his captain’s backing though despite Paine’s admission that the Queenslander hadn’t quite put “huge runs on the board”.
“I think it was a tough call to make for Joe to miss out on the Ashes. He’s come back to Queensland and hasn’t put huge runs on the board but has been pretty consistent. And going back a little while when he came back into the Test side, scored a big hundred and he’s shown over the years that he’s a class player,” he said.
Similarly, with Bancroft, Paine admitted that the young opener, who’s now vying for a middle-order spot, had gone through a rough patch but like with coach Justin Langer backed the right-hander to come through purely based on his temperament.
“He’s come from outside the Australia A side and showed his mettle when guys were falling around him. That’s what Bangers are. He’s a tough competitive cricketer and it’s great that we’ve got someone like that, a few guys like that. It’s no secret Bangers had a little bit of a tough time but he’s had some strange dismissals this year. But he’s got a great temperament to be an excellent Test cricketer for Australia,” said Tim Paine.
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