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Cummins defends tactics in drawn Test

Even with hindsight, Pat Cummins says he wouldn’t change his tactics in Australia’s almost-Test in Karachi.

The Australians almost bowled out Pakistan on the final day in the drawn second Test against Pakistan on Wednesday, falling three wickets short of victory.

Cummins’ team almost achieved Australia’s first win in Karachi in nine Tests.

And they almost secured a 1-0 series lead.

Instead, Australia head to Lahore for the third and final Test starting on Monday with the series level at nil-all.

“Coming over here in these conditions, at the start of the series if you had said it’s going to be nil-all after two games, we would probably take that,” Cummins said.

Cummins’ comment could be classed as an admission of a conservative approach to the Pakistan tour, and the Karachi Test in particular.

In his seventh Test as captain, Cummins’ decision-making in Karachi raised some eyebrows.

Australia’s first innings stretched into day three before Cummins declared at 9-566 from 189 overs.

After skittling Pakistan for 148 all out in 53 overs, Cummins opted not to enforce the follow-on.

And Australia then extended their second innings some 35 minutes into day four when, overnight, they already held a 489-run lead.

Those 35 minutes could have been vital on day five as Pakistan negotiated 171.4 overs in making 7-443 to force a draw.

“In terms of the tactics, I think overall I wouldn’t change too much, to be honest,” Cummins said.

“Batting into day three gave us that chance to really have a crack at them on day three – it probably went better than we expected.

“But over here the wickets are pretty good. We carved up two and a half days of the best time on the wicket hoping that it was going to break up on day four and five.”

Australia turfed two simple catching chances in Pakistan’s second innings.

Steve Smith dropped Abdullah Shafique on 20 – he went on to make 96.

And Usman Khwaja put down a catch from Mohammad Rizwan’s bat with 19 balls left in the game – the hosts would have been eight wickets down with only tailenders left if he’d caught it.

“If we took a couple of those catches it might have been a different scenario,” Cummins said.

“I thought we gave ourselves a really good opportunity in this Test match, especially after the first three innings of the game.

“I was really proud and happy about how our team played.

“In foreign conditions we are showing that we are adapting quite well.

“But, of course, getting so close and not coming out with a result can feel like it’s a missed opportunity.”

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