The Australian cricket team lost almost any hope of winning the first Test against Pakistan after suffering a humiliating 10-wicket collapse for just 60 runs overnight on the third day in Dubai.
After going to lunch at a respectable 142 without loss, the Australian batting order plummeted to 202 all-out with more than an hour left in the day’s play in reply to Pakistan’s first innings total of 482.
Pakistan was 3-45 at stumps with a lead of 325 runs at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Openers Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja were the only Australians to score more than 20 runs on day three and looked set for big scores after seeing off the opening session.
But Finch’s dismissal for 62 at the hands of paceman Mohammad Abbas after lunch sparked a shocking Australian batting capitulation.
Pakistan offspinner Bilal Asif claimed 6-36 on debut as the 33-year-old wreaked havoc with his height and ability to generate bounce on a flat pitch.
Bilal took the key wickets of Khawaja (85), Shaun Marsh (7), captain Tim Paine (7) and Nathan Lyon (6), as well as dismissing Test newcomers Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne for ducks.
Abbas (4-29) claimed the remainder of the Australian wickets.
Finch conceded Australia’s batsmen struggled to counter Bilal’s spin, but denied panic had set in as the wickets began to fall.
“I think all the guys who walked in still had really clear plans with what they wanted to do and what they’ve been practising,” he said.
“It’s just a different environment when you walk out and there’s guys all around the bat, which is tough to replicate in the nets.
“A guy who is a very tall offspinner [Bilal] getting a lot of bounce which is hard to replicate.”
Former Australian fast bowler Brendan Julian slammed the Australian performance.
Julian, now a Fox Sports commentator, argued the batting conditions had not changed significantly since the start of the test.
“It’s not as if it’s keeping low, there has been a bit of reverse swing bowling, which is what the Australians got,” he said.
“Peter Siddle got it to reverse, Mitch Starc got it to reverse, I don’t think they got anything different than Pakistan got, they just played them badly.”
Australia lost 10 wickets for 50 runs in a single session at Cape Town in March in the wake of the ball- tampering scandal that resulted in the suspension of captain Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft.