Sydney: Australia have one eye on India and Pakistan could be contemplating life without their most successful captain Misbah-ul-Haq when the final ‘dead’ Test begins on Tuesday in Sydney.
Steve Smith’s Australians wrapped up the three-match series with a Test to spare in a dramatic second innings demolition of Pakistan in two sessions in Melbourne on Friday to open up new selection possibilities for Sydney.
“I always believed that if I couldn’t contribute to the team then it’s no point staying there. I haven’t decided (about Sydney) but let’s see,” Misbah said after the tourists lost by an innings and 18 runs.
While the end looms for the man who has guided his country to more victories than any other Pakistan captain — 24 in 52 Tests — Australia have other considerations.
Spinners Steve O’Keefe and Ashton Agar have been included in a 13-man squad for a Sydney Cricket Ground wicket that is expected to turn.
Coach Darren Lehmann raised the prospect of playing two of his three spin options — the other is Australia’s most-successful off-spinner Nathan Lyon — at the expense of paceman Jackson Bird with an all-rounder coming in.
“It’s more than likely that we’re going to play two of those three spinners which means we’ll also have to look to fit in an all-rounder,” Lehmann said.
Pakistan are facing their 12th straight defeat since their last Test win in Australia in Sydney 22 years ago.
Misbah was disconsolate following the Melbourne second-innings debacle on good batting surface that had seen the teams score a total of 1,067 first-innings runs.
“After scoring 443 you should not be in that position to lose a Test match on the last day,” Misbah said.
“I think we should take the blame as a batting unit because the pitch was very good on the last day.”