Australia’s assistant coach Michael hopes Aussies can still win the game

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By our correspondent

KARACHI: A super fightback from Pakistan from what was a precarious situation has now also put a lot of pressure on Australia who looked in a very commanding position when they picked Pakistan’s two early wickets after setting for them a tough victory target of 506. But Australia’s assistant coach Michael Di Venuto is confident and said that they can win the Test.

“Yes, we are still in a position to win this Test match,” Michael told a virtual news conference at the end of the fourth day’s play of the second Test between Pakistan and Australia here at the National Stadium on Tuesday.

“It was a tough day, there was no doubt about that as Pakistan played very well. As we should expect that is the quality side as we saw. Yesterday we bowled really well and we certainly expect that it happens again,” Michael said.

On the third day there was more reverse swing seen which had created great problems for the Pakistani batsmen as the whole team were folded for only 148 in response to Australia’s total of 556-9 declared. However, on the penultimate day the reverse factor was not that much, although there was variable bounce seen. And Michael explained that they did not get more reverse swing when the ball got softened.

“Yesterday, we got reverse swing with the hard ball as Pakistan did not do enough in the first innings. Australia got through that period. When the ball was hard yesterday, we got a couple of breakthroughs and then were able to rip through Pakistan’s batting. Today through that period the ball got softened and it did not do as much. Although there was a variable bounce but the ball got softened and we also missed a chance but Pakistan did very well,” Michael said.

Australia bowled the last two overs of the penultimate day with the new ball and on the final day they will get the opportunity to create some chances earlier on when the ball will be harder.

“Tomorrow when we will start with the hard ball that will be a crucial period for us,” Michael said.

There are four left-handers in Pakistan’s remaining batting and Australia’s spinners may utilise the rough patches to unsettle them.

“As the leg-spinner Swepson and Nathan Lyon will bowl, so we have the weapons when the left-handers will do come in but we will have to get an important breakthrough first tomorrow,” Michael said.

He said the dropped chance of Abdullah Shafique hurt the visitors.

“Absolutely,” he said. “The bowlers worked hard but it can be very tough for the slip fielders standing very close and that’s why the catch was put down unfortunately,” Michael said.

Abdullah Shafique was dropped by Steven Smith in the slips off Pat Cummins earlier on in his innings and the right-hander then batted superbly to reach unbeaten 71 at stumps.

Michael sees a chance that the ball will be reversing on the final day which may help the visitors.

“It would be a hard work, there is no doubt about it. But as statistics show it will be reversing and that will be a crucial part to get some breakthroughs. Once the ball softens it becomes easier for batting. There is still variable bounce and there will be some turn tomorrow and this the possibility for creating chances. It can be an interesting day’s play tomorrow and another tough one for us,” Michael said.

“Yes, we definitely got more reverse swing yesterday when the ball was harder and that’s why we got breakthroughs. Today we got a chance and missed that and later Pakistani batsmen batted very well. When the ball gets little bit soften it becomes easy for the batsmen to play and full credit to Pakistan today for doing that. Tomorrow we will try to win the Test match,” Michael reiterated.