Sydney, Apr 24 (ANI): Australian captain Michael Clarke did not have much knowledge about opponents Pakistan before the start of the ODI series, and handling their spinners is the key to the five-match series.
Clarke admitted to not knowing much about his opponents, and he knew only that Pakistan had three very good fast bowlers.
Clarke and a somewhat stunned Australian side now have a much clearer picture of three things: how little they know the quality of the Pakistani spinners; how much they have to learn, and how little time they have to do it, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Batting first on the new cricket ground, Brad Haddin and Shane Watson saw off the quicks and appeared to be in settled occupation before the introduction of spin turned the game on its head, handing victory to Pakistan in a dozen thrilling overs.
Experienced leg-spinner Shahid Afridi and newcomer Saeed Ajmal, reduced Australia to staring at pitch and bowler with bemused and befuddled looks on their faces.
Unable to pick either spinner, they stuck out the bat and hoped; all too quickly the Australian innings slid from strength into a very large hole, losing 8-27 to be bowled out for 168 in the 39th over.
More bad news is that Shoaib Malik bowled only one over at the death. Australia may well face 30 overs of spin, with Pakistan convinced it is their opponents' major weakness.
"Australians always struggle against off-spin, and today showed that," said captain Younus Khan, who confirmed the plan to use Ajmal as their shock bowler had been some time in the hatching.
Australian coach Tim Nielsen agreed that finding a way to handle the spinners, particularly Ajmal, who was playing only his sixth one-day international, held the key to the five-match series.
The challenge is significant and immediate - to think through the problem, study the video, "get a bit of practice, come up with a clear plan and, most importantly, have the courage to go out there and play that way," he said.
The Australians are adamant they are not weak against spin but they do concede the doosra continues to trouble them. (ANI)