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Erratic Pakistan batsmen 'frustrating'

AAP logoAAP 22/12/2016 Michael Ramsey

Coaching Pakistan's batsmen can be a maddening task.

One minute they're collapsing in a heap, the next they're chasing down impossible totals.

Which version of the team shows up for the Boxing Day Test is anyone's guess.

Last week's first Test in Brisbane is destined to be remembered for a stunning fourth-innings comeback, which almost led to the unlikeliest of Pakistan victories.

But just a few days earlier, it was a seven-wicket final session collapse that threatened to define the match.

Zimbabwe cricket great Grant Flower has been Pakistan's batting coach for two-and-a-half years and admits he still finds himself scratching his head at their inconsistency.

"It's quite frustrating, obviously," Flower said on Thursday.

"But it's also quite exciting. That's probably why people like watching Pakistan play.

"It's just one of those things. They're very skilful players but sometimes it can go wrong, sometimes the techniques can be found a bit wanting when they're not used to the conditions.

"The flipside is when something happens... like the other day, and you see the best of them. Hopefully as the guys get more used to the conditions here in Australia, you'll see a lot more of that."

Pakistan's massive fourth-innings total of 450 in Brisbane - the highest ever recorded in a Test match in Australia - was almost their masterpiece, as they tried to chase down 490.

The attempt ultimately failed but it served as a stark reminder they have chased down huge totals in recent years.

Veteran Younis Khan scored a dazzling 171 not out in Sri Lanka last July to help Pakistan chase down 377 and claim a 2-1 series win.

Eighteen months earlier, they had scored 302 runs at a remarkable 5.25 per over to claim a last-gasp victory over Sri Lanka in the UAE.

They have also failed on occasion and an epic collapse against New Zealand last month - losing nine wickets in the final session - showed just how fragile Mickey Arthur's men can be on foreign soil.

The visitors are hoping 42-year-old skipper Misbah ul-Haq will lead from the front at the MCG after struggling with the bat in Brisbane.

Misbah has averaged just 34 with the bat at Test level in 2016 and just 13 in his last four Test innings despite beginning his Test year with a 114-run century against England at Lord's in July.

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