The Test series is on the line when Pakistan and New Zealand meet for the third and final time in proceedings in Abu Dhabi. This series has been dramatic and has had plenty of twists and turns and after two matches it is 1-1 so the winner will take all here.
Pakistan will have been expected to win the series heading into it so they are the team that is most under pressure here. It might be that New Zealand see this as a fresh shot to claim an unlikely series success.
Had it not been for one crazy session when this series was last in Abu Dhabi, Pakistan would already have had the series in the bag by now. They collapsed to lose from a seemingly impossible position to be beaten from but to their utmost credit they bounced back in fine style in Dubai in the second test to claim a huge win.
Pakistan don’t need to change anything heading into this match to claim the spoils. The only thing they have to do is make sure that when the winning position comes along they are ruthless and offer no way back in for New Zealand. All eyes will be on Pakistan with the bat to ensure there are no more collapses coming their way, especially if they end up batting last here.
After stealing a win in the opening match in the series, New Zealand will be disappointed to succumb to such a heavy defeat in the second Test. That win in the first game guaranteed them two shots at winning the series and now comes the crunch time where they have to deliver the goods to ensure that early turnaround does not go to waste.
Their problems in Dubai were pretty clear right from the outset. They played Yasir Shah terribly and if they are going to do anything going forward the first thing they have to do is formulate a better plan against him. If they can do that then we’ve already seen that they have a bowling attack that can trouble Pakistan so they could set up an epic end to the series.
Pakistan have been hit by the news that Mohammad Abbas has been ruled out of the finale through injury so Shaheen Afridi is in line for a debut. Faheem Ashraf could come into the side if they want another change.
New Zealand are expected to make a change to their bowling attack with Tim Southee most likely to come in for what is a pretty big match. Colin de Grandhomme hasn’t offered a whole lot in this series so he could make way.
Yasir Shah delivered the goods for me in some style in the previous Test match and I’ve not seen anything to suggest his output in the series has ended just yet. He took an emphatic 14 wickets in Dubai to go with the eight wickets he took in the first match of the series on this ground.
Despite all that he has a performance line of 150.5pts in this match so a repeat of either of those displays will cover that. When we factor in that Mohammad Abbas is not around to do damage with the new ball there is every chance that we’ll see the ball in Shah’s hands even more. Whether that is the case or not I like the over here.
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