The Australian Test side is shocked to see a green top in Abu Dhabi.
The Australian Test side is shocked to see a green top in Abu Dhabi.

Aussies shocked by desert green top

THE shocking sight of a green oasis in the desert is likely to prove more of a mirage for Australia's fast bowlers in Abu Dhabi.

Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle bowled in excruciating heat at Sunday's main training session and Australia appears almost certain to stick with an unchanged line-up for the series deciding Test against Pakistan.

But Australia did arrive to the mystery of a green, entirely grass covered pitch which looks worlds apart from the dry, barren deck that confronted them two days out from the corresponding Test match against Pakistan way back in 2014.

The Abu Dhabi deck is typically known for being even flatter than Dubai and often turns more on days four and five, but Australia are now intrigued to see what the picture looks like on match eve.

Back in 2013 in a Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka the fast bowlers struck gold in the first session, but it didn't last long and soon the surface flattened out for the typical runs-fest.

The grass covering is unlikely to mean seam or swing but it might lessen the skiddy nature of the pitch the Australians are used to seeing in these parts.

There was absolutely nothing in the first Test Dubai pitch for Mitchell Starc, who battled his way through 40 odd overs for only one solitary wicket.

Consideration may have been given to resting Starc had Pakistan won the first Test, but the prospect of winning in Asia for the first time since 2011 almost guarantees Australia will play their chief strike weapon.

 

 

Dry as the desert: The corresponding pitch four years ago.
Dry as the desert: The corresponding pitch four years ago.

Peter Siddle was excellent in Dubai, taking three scalps. His resting from the pre-series tour game was purposefully designed to have him fresh enough to handle back-to-back Tests.

While Australia rested up on Saturday upon arrival in Abu Dhabi, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur had to put two batsmen through their paces.

One of their stars from the first Test, opener Imam ul-Haq fractured his finger and is ruled out for the series.

It's understood Arthur might be choosing between opener Fakhar Zaman or promoting No.3 Azhar Ali to the top of the order.

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