Australia whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in the Test series that concluded on Saturday. As the result proves, the hosts were completely dominant. Here’s a look at the top performers in the series. Expectedly, most of them are from Australia.
Steven Smith: After the horrors of the home series loss to South Africa, Smith led from the front against Pakistan, with the bat. He was the top run scorer in the series with 441 runs at a splendid average of 110.25 with two hundreds and as many fifties, and that too at an impressive strike rate of 71. He began with 130 and 63 at Brisbane as Aussies eased to victory. In the Boxing Day Test, smashed a memorable 165 not out, and contributed a quick 59 in the second innings at Sydney, as Australia raced against time to snatch victory. Smith was an easy choice for man of the series.
David Warner: Had it not been for Smith, Warner would have been the man of the series. Not for the number for runs he scored, but the manner in which he did them. Having had mixed results in the last few months, Warner came out all guns blazing against an under-confident Pakistan attack, and put them to the swords quite literally. A tally of 365 runs at an average of 71.20 with two hundreds and a fifty is a hugely impressive stat in itself. But, what stood out about Warner in the series was undoubtedly his strike rate – 103.79, and yes it was not a one-day series. A hundred before lunch on day one at Sydney, 144 at a run-a-ball at Melbourne, Warner was unstoppable. The 27-ball 55 on day four at SCG was like enjoying a dessert after a great meal.
Azhar Ali: The only Pakistani batsman who could actually stand up to the Aussie bowling. The opener was the second-highest run-getter in the series with 406 runs, at an average of 81.20 with one hundred, a double at hundred, and two fifties. He lit up the Boxing Day Test with his superb 205 not out, giving Pakistan hope. There were two 70s and a 40 during his other visits to the crease. He was clearly at ease out in the middle. But, the lack of support clearly hit his efforts to resurrect Pakistan.
Josh Hazlewood: The medium pacer is clearly among the most talented young pacers going around, along with the likes of Kagiso Rabada. He was once again impressive, ending up as the leading wicket-taker in the series, with 15 scalps, at an average of under 20. Though he did not claim any five wicket-haul, he was at the batsmen throughout – his best effort coming at Sydney, where he claimed 4 for 55 and 3 for 29.
Mitchell Starc: The left-arm seamer was expected to lead the attack, but he ended up playing the support role to Hazlewood. Still, 14 wickets at an average of 34 represents a successful effort. He was at his best at Brisbane, with 3 for 63 and 4 for 119. In the second innings at Melbourne, he ran through Pakistan with 4 for 36, and earlier contributed 84 with the bat too.
--By A Cricket Analyst