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Six reasons Pakistan are the real deal

AAP logoAAP 8/12/2016 Scott Bailey

WHY PAKISTAN ARE A TEST TEAM TO FEAR

THE VETERANS: At 42 and 39, captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan should be long retired. But their recent Test records say otherwise. Khan has scored 1352 runs at 50.07 over the past two years, while Misbah is not far behind with 1139 at 43.80. Khan in particular has no concerns against Australia, averaging 56.66.

THE UNSCARRED: The remainder of Pakistan's batsmen have never lost a Test series to the Aussies - and while they might arrive as unknowns to the Australian public, it's unlikely to stay that way. Opener Azhar Ali has averaged 55 since the start of last year, and smashed an unbeaten 302 against the West Indies in a day-night Test in October. His partner Sami Aslam and No.3 Babar Azam are both going at above 40 this year, while Asad Shafiq hasn't had the best 2016 but struck 706 at 54.3 last year.

YASIR SHAH: Potentially the closest thing to Shane Warne since the Australian legspinner retired a decade ago. Has taken 116 wickets in his first 20 Tests, including eight five-wickets hauls. Also took a 10-wicket haul at Lords last winter to show that he's not just a one-trick pony on the dry wickets of the sub-continent.

MOHAMMAD AMIR: Pakistan haven't had a bowler like him since Wasim Akram retired in 2002. Has captured 25 wickets in eight Tests since his return from a five-year ban for spot fixing, and is still bowling with the same pace and swing from back in 2010. The 25-year-old could be particularly dangerous in the humid day-night Test at the Gabba, as well as the traditionally more bowler-friendly conditions in Melbourne.

AWAY FROM HOME: No team from the sub-continent has beaten Australia in Australia for almost nine years, let alone ever taken a series off the home side. But this Pakistan team hasn't actually played at home in seven years. They took two wins off England on their own turf this year. Their 2-0 defeat to New Zealand last month was their first away series loss in two years.

THE BIG SCALPS: Pakistan seemingly aren't afraid of anyone. They beat Australia 2-0 in their last visit to the UAE in 2014, and also defeated them in a Test in England four years earlier. They've also beaten England in four of the seven Tests they've played in the past two years, beat Sri Lanka 2-1 away from the UAE in 2015 and drew 1-1 with South Africa in their last meeting three years back.

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