Pakistan defend dropping Mohammad Abbas

Mohammad Abbas has been left out of the Pakistan side for the first Test - and has been missed.
Mohammad Abbas has been left out of the Pakistan side for the first Test - and has been missed.

Pakistan have defended their decision to overlook Mohammad Abbas for Brisbane with the move to pick an inexperienced pace attack backfiring.

Pakistan could have done with Mohammad in their attack on Friday and Saturday, as Australia piled on 580 in the first innings at the Gabba.

Their inexperienced quicks took 4-237 between them to leave the visitors on the verge of victory, with only youngster Naseem Shah offering any real spark.

The trio of Imran Khan, Naseem and Shaheen Shah Afridi along with the spinners failed to build pressure, with only 11 maidens from the 157 overs Pakistan sent down.

Meanwhile Mohammad - who took 17 wickets at 10.58 when the two teams met last in the UAE - watched on from the sideline, a controversial omission for the Test.

"Mohammad Abbas has been a match-winner for us over the last 18 months," bowling coach and former Pakistani star Waqar Younis conceded.

"(But) unfortunately he isn't at his best rhythm. Recently back on the New Zealand tour, he had an injury.

"So he hasn't been bowling as well as he has in the past against Australia and in England.

"But we're not losing hope with him. He's still our main man and we are going to take a very close look and we'll think about it in Adelaide."

Mohammad's 14-Test career has also yielded 66 wickets at just 18.86 - the best average of any Pakistani in history.

It was largely the decision to pick Imran over him that confused most pundits.

Imran has taken 29 wickets at 31.62 in his 10 Tests, but Waqar said it was unfair to question his selection.

Nor would he commit to a Mohammad return for Adelaide when the second Test begins on Friday.

"It's a decision that depends on the head coach and the selectors on who'll play and who won't," Waqar said.

"But it would be injustice against Imran Khan to say that his selection was unjustified.

"His performance in first-class cricket has been great and so too in the warm-up game in Perth.

"He was bowling well. But unfortunately he couldn't do the same here."

Pace wasn't Pakistan's only problem as they went to stumps at 3-64 and still trailing by 276.

Their fielding fell away as the innings went on, while Yasir Shah took four wickets but they came at the cost of 205 runs.

In turn, it made him the first bowler in history to concede more than 200 runs in three separate innings in Australia.

And with the bat they struggled against the extra bounce, with Haris Sohail adding to his woes on the tour with another edge behind off Mitchell Starc.

Australian Associated Press