18/05/2024

Who will make their mark in a historic Test series between Pakistan and Australia?

Ahead of the first Test at Rawalpindi on Friday, The Inner Sanctum's cricket journalists have given their predictions ahead of the historic Pakistan vs Australia series

It’s the tour that has been in the making for 24 years and tomorrow, the waiting will finally be over when Pakistan and Australia renew their storied rivalry in Pakistan for the first time since 1998.

Ahead of the first Test at Rawalpindi on Friday, The Inner Sanctum’s cricket journalists have given their predictions for the series. Who will win, who will score most runs, who needs a big series?

Here is what they had to say.

Jono Baruch

Series scoreline: Australia 2-1

Most Runs: Babar Azam

Most Wickets: Pat Cummins

Who needs a big series: Travis Head. After a breakout Ashes series proving that he could hold down a middle-order spot in Australian conditions, how will his skills and temperament be tested abroad in foreign conditions? Can’t just be a one summer wonder

Player of the series: David Warner. The champion opener unlocked something in his most recent trip to the subcontinent (yes it was five years ago) and can play the patient game. Has 1059 runs @ 151.28 in his last 10 international innings vs Pakistan. The Bull knows his prey.  

Will Cuckson

Series scoreline: Australia 2-1

Most Runs: Steve Smith

Most Wickets: Shaheen Shah Afridi

Who needs a big series: Nathan Lyon. As Australia’s ‘GOAT’ and first-choice spinner, Lyon will be tasked with much of Australia’s spin-bowling load. His record against Pakistan isn’t especially favourable – with 33 wickets at 47.18 from nine Tests – but Lyon’s experience bowling long spells in the subcontinent will be a key ingredient should the Aussies experience series success.

Player of the series: Steve Smith. It feels like it’s been a while since Smith has lit up the Test arena, but the Tour of Pakistan could be his time to shine. He topped the run-scoring charts and scored three centuries in the 2017 tour to India, and visiting the uncharted territory of Pakistan could give Smith a similar fire in the belly to succeed.

Jordan Janssen

Series scoreline: Australia 2-1

Most Runs: Babar Azam

Most Wickets: Shared between Pat Cummins and Shaheen Shah Afridi

Who needs a big series: Steve Smith

In Pakistan, Steve Smith will be wanting to make a pile of runs after several lean home summers against India, New Zealand, and England. The 32-year-old has gone scored a century in 11 innings, the last time being when he scored 131* against India at the SCG at the start of 2021.

With a good record against the men in green, averaging 53.92. The right-hand batter batting hopes will go a long way towards a victorious series for the visitors.

Player of the series: David Warner

The 35-year-old has a fantastic record against Pakistan in the test arena, scoring 1084, at an average of 108.40. Although most of them have been made on home soil, known with a tag of being a flat track bully at home and poor record away, the Bull will want to ensure he can make big runs consistently in away conditions, and what a better opportunity to do so in Pakistan on its low and slow pitches.

Lachlan Dand

Series scoreline: Australia 3-0

Most Runs: Usman Khawaja

Most Wickets: Josh Hazlewood

Who needs a big series: Alex Carey. After a brilliant start to his career in the baggy green, particularly early in the series, Carey would be disappointed with the way his Ashes campaign finished. With many questioning his position in the Australian side, Carey has the potential to put his critics to the side with a strong series, and prove that he is the best number seven in the country.

Player of the series: Steve Smith. It was on his most recent tour that Steve Smith placed himself in the Don Bradman conversation as Australia’s best batsman. However, after a disappointing last two series on home soil, against India and England respectively, he will want to bounce back. We know what to expect, and I expect the superstar to be at his brilliant best on the road again, as he looks to claim yet another player of the series award.

Sean Mortell

Series scoreline: 1-1

Most Runs: Babar Azam

Most Wickets: Nathan Lyon

Who needs a big series: David Warner. After such a wonderful test career record against Pakistan so far, now is the time for Davey to conquer them away. He’s started to work out how to play in away spinning conditions, but this series looms as a legacy-defining three tests for one of our great opening batters.

Player of the series: Marnus Labuschagne. Although I feel like Azam will knock up the most runs from the other side, Labuschagne’s preparation and ability against spin will come to the fore in Pakistan. He’ll be up there in the runs and a few important centuries will give him the award he dearly deserves.

More Cricket News

The Inner Sanctum’s Australia v Pakistan First Test Preview

‘Creative and brave’: Cummins blueprint for Test Tour of Pakistan

Hero to commentator: A journey between World Cups for Alex Hartley

Scott Kertes

Series scoreline:  1-1

Most Runs:  Steve Smith

Most Wickets:  Afridi

Who needs a big series: David Warner – always dominates on home soil but has struggled of late overseas.  Needs a big series to cement his spot for future overseas tours.

Player of the series: Steve Smith – after what he would have considered a disappointing series personally against England, Smith will dominate with the bat and even grab himself a wicket or two.

Madeline Irwin 

Series scoreline: 2-1 Australia 

Most Runs: Steve Smith

Most Wickets: Nathan Lyon

Who needs a big series: David Warner-When looking at his last test series against England in Australia, Warner didn’t score over 40 except on two occasions where he got just shy of the century mark (95 and 94 runs). Other than these two innings, he scored 84 runs in the other six innings with a pair of ducks in there as well. Conditions ought to be tougher in Pakistan than in his home country and Warner needs to show the game is not past him.

Player of the series: Steve Smith- After scoring just 244 runs at an economy of 30.5 in the series against England, Smith needs to find his world-beating form with the bat again. His test average dropped below 60 which marks the first time since September 2017 that this has occurred. I believe he will want to come back and show everyone that he is still the player he can be and this will be the time to do so.

Giacomo Bruno 

Series scoreline: 3-0 Australia

Most runs: Steve Smith 

Most wickets: Pat Cummins 

Who needs a big series?

David Warner. Given his strong record against Pakistan in the past, this upcoming overseas test series will need to be more of the same for Warner. Having historically struggled to produce the same form he does on Australian soil, this series needs to be the one to get Warner back on track.

Player of the series?

Steve Smith. Following an underwhelming series against England, that star batter will be eager to get back to his. Having a track record of bouncing back after a run of poor form, the tour of Pakistan will see Smith pile on the runs and get back into form. 

Lachlan Onions

Series scoreline: 1-1

Most Runs: Babar Azam

Most Wickets: Pat Cummins

Who needs a big series: Alex Carey. After an underwhelming Ashes series where he failed to set the world alight with both the bat and with the gloves, the pressure will be on him to stake his claim as the first-choice wicketkeeper. A poor series here could leave the door wide open for Josh Inglis to step in as the newest wicketkeeper for Australia.

Player of the series: Pat Cummins. The 28-year-old has thrived since taking over as test captain. Having already asserted himself as the best bowler in the world with an average of 21.19, he can add further emphasis to that title with what will be a brilliant performance with the ball across all three tests.

Josh Ward

Series scoreline: 2-1 Australia

Most Runs: Steve Smith

Most Wickets: Shaheen Shah Afridi

Who needs a big series: Cameron Green. He’s shown glimpses of his talent with both bat and ball since joining the Australian team, but now he will be looking to parlay that all into a big series in the subcontinent. With fellow Western Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh there in the squad with him, He would want a good start over the first couple of Tests.

Player of the Series: Steve Smith. Whilst he has had his struggles in the test arena recently he could be set to thrive in Pakistan. He’s had 22 test innings in the subcontinent, scoring 1081 runs and averaging 51.5, and loves to play spin. Looks set for a massive series against the Pakistanis.

Jake Barker

Series scoreline: Australia 2-0

Most Runs: Usman Khawaja 

Most Wickets: Pat Cummins 

Who needs a big series: Pat Cummins. After what was a successful 4-0 Ashes series win and Cummins having an impact with bat and ball on field. There was much talk of his captaincy, given the series was fairly straightforward. His first series as captain in an unfamiliar place in Pakistan, a place Australia hasn’t played a series, since 1998, could be the kickstart that Cummins needs to his tenure as Australian Test Captain.

Player of the series: Usman Khawaja. Usman has been very much in and out of the Australian test makeup over the last couple of years. He proved in the recent Ashes series, that he still has a lot to give Australian cricket, especially Test cricket. Given the opportunity in this series in the country, he was born. He will show why he is one of the best in the world on these types of wickets and have a series to remember. 

Anthony Alesiani 

Series Scoreline: Australia 2 – 1

Most Runs: Steve Smith

Most Wickets: Nathan Lyon

Who needs a big series: David Warner. His last series was absolutely dominant against Pakistan opening the batting. Hasn’t seen as much run flow as he’d like and with the top order under pressure he needs to deliver a good opening stint.

Player of the series: Steve Smith. There’s a sense of a point to prove for smudge. He underdelivered in the Ashes & probably feels he needs a good series to keep his game going. A series away from home and a good record in Asia may just deliver some big scores.

Dominic Criniti

Series scoreline: Australia 2-1

Most Runs: Marnus Labuschagne 

Most Wickets: Nathan Lyon

Who needs a big series: Pat Cummins. Although he’s coming off an incredible Ashes win in his maiden series as captain, this will be a massive test for Cummins as he needs to prove he can win out of the country as well. Cummins did come under fire for some decisions made in the Ashes – notably the Sydney test. The Aussie skipper’s bowling and batting performances should take care of themselves, it’s what he does outside of that which will give us an indication as to how the Cummins’ captaincy era may look.

Player of the series: Marnus Labuschagne. Leading the runs and taking a few handy wickets on a spinner-friendly pitch should seal this award to Marnus. By doing this Marnus will cement himself as one of the best in his generation and should lead him into bigger and better things in the oncoming summer of cricket.

Jack Dobson

Series scoreline: Australia 3-0

Most Runs: Marnus Labuschagne

Most Wickets: Mitch Swepson

Who needs a big series: Alex Carey. Was decent with the gloves during the Ashes but needs to perform better with the bat. Carey can become a vulnerable player in the XI and contribute to batting collapses. Josh Inglis is right on his tail, so if Carey can’t score enough against Pakistan, Australia could have another new keeper in the Summer.

Player of the series: Marnus Labuschagne. Don’t think much more needs to be said other than the best batter in the world will do what he does best. Marnus is super focused ahead of this series and there’s no doubt he’s going to face a lot of balls and comfortably score more runs than anyone else.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

About Author

Leave a Reply