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Gilchrist wary of Pakistan

By Adam Cooper 13/12/2004 06:37:24 PM Comments (0)

Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist highlighted Pakistan pace ace Shoaib Akhtar as the main reason why the world champions will not under-estimate the tourists and their brittle lead-up form in Thursday's first cricket Test in Perth.

Australia will start hot favourites to rout Pakistan at the pace-friendly WACA Ground given the venue's history of three-day matches and the visitors' poor lead-up, marked by their fragile batting and lack of bowling depth once Shoaib and opening partner Mohammad Sami were off.

But Gilchrist said Shoaib, whose bowling average against Australia balloons to 40.10 from his career average of 24.32, could not be overlooked because of his ability to swing a match in just a few overs of express pace.

The Australians saw first-hand how devastating the Rawalpindi Express could be in October 2002, when he knocked over Ricky Ponting, Mark and Steve Waugh and Gilchrist in 11 balls - three of them bowled - in the second innings of the first Test at the neutral venue of Colombo.

Shoaib took 5-21 in Australia's total of 127, and although Australia won by 41 runs, the lesson was learned.

"All of us have seen Pakistan be hot and cold, whether it's a tour match or an international game, so we'll be wary of them still," Gilchrist said.

"They have that ability and the attacking flair of their players, and Shoaib is a prime example.

"He's done it to us before, you give him a bowling spell where he can come on, particularly with reverse swing at his pace he can take five for 20 in one spell and totally end an innings.

"So that's an example of how dangerous they are and from what I've seen of their batting, their batting has that flair where they can take it away from you in a short space of time.

Gilchrist said Pakistan's abundance of natural talent - if not consistency - meant there would be periods where the visitors could dominate, even though most observers expect a home side cakewalk and a third-straight series whitewash over the Pakistanis.

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