Coach Langer expects better footwork from batsmen following loss to Pakistan
Australia head coach Justin Langer. (Getty Image)

Australia coach Justin Langer has urged his players to work on their footwork in wake of 0-1 series loss to Pakistan. After fashioning a heroic draw in the first Test, Australia’s batting was all over the place during both innings of the second Test in Abu Dhabi, where fast bowler Mohammad Abbas picked up a five-wicket-haul in each innings to help Pakistan register a thumping 373-run win. In the second innings, Australia lost 10 for 93.

“You talk about the great Australian players they moved their feet like boxers, every one of them,” said Langer, who scored 7696 runs in 105 Tests during an illustrious career. “They had footwork patterns and then from there you have the skill of run-scoring ability. And it’s a really important thing.

“Even in T20 cricket or one-day and most certainly first-class and Test cricket when the ball starts moving around, if you don’t’ move your feet then you’re going to come unstuck.”

Having drawn the first Test heroically, Langer and the rest of the players were vocal about the prospect of Australia winning a rare series in the UAE. And the chances of that happening looked pretty strong when Australia had Pakistan at 57 for 5 in the first innings. But Fakhar Zaman and captain Sarfraz Ahmed forged a 147-run stand to bring Pakistan back in the match. Australia had the chance to dictate terms with the bat, but they folded inside 150 in the first innings with Abbas ripping through their batting with a five-wicket-haul.

“I didn’t sleep very well that first night,” said Langer. “We had them 5-57, and that night, Pakistan ended up with 282 and I know how hard Test cricket is. When you have people on the ropes you have to capitalise. Particularly a team like this and particularly they had Mohamad Abbas who bowled beautifully, and we knew Yasir Shah.

“I really think it’s a huge disappointment. I thought our preparation was brilliant. We came into the first Test really encouraged, really upbeat. We knew we were evenly matched with Pakistan in terms of ages and games played.”

Of all Australian batsmen, the series was a nightmare particularly for the Marsh Brothers – Shaun and Marsh, who combined to score a sorry 44 runs from eight innings each. While Mitchell may be given a longer rope considering he is the vice-captain and has scored for Australia A, Shaun’s career may be hanging by a threat.

“Shaun has obviously had a poor series and he knows that. You can see it in his face he knows he’s had a poor series,” Langer said. “Whether you’re making them in T20 cricket or one day cricket or Sheffield Shield cricket or Test cricket. The only currency of value are runs. That’s just the truth of it.”