The new faces of Australian cricket, Tim Paine and Justin Langer, have the tall and unenviable task of facing Pakistan in their first Test series as the captain and coach, respectively, of the Baggy Green.
Pakistan has lost only one Test Series over the past decade during international play in the United Arab Emirates.
Pakistan moved their home matches to the UAE in 2010, as otherwise, those home matches would have been played in, well, Pakistan. Over that time, they have won five and drawn four, which puts them on the same level as India.
Pardon us for using the names of those two countries in the same sentence.
The lone loss in Test by Pakistan since moving to the UAE was to Sri Lanka last year, which is the slim straw of hope two which Aussie cricket clings.
Australia have not done especially well in Asia, however, as it has lost the last for series it has played in Asia.
Against that backdrop, it would appear that Australia would be well advised to loosen its grip on the straw of Pakistan losing in Asia last time out.
History is seldom kind to the losers and lacking Steve Smith and David Warner due to suspension is a handicap of major magnitude.
Australia will also be missing pace bowlers Josh Hazlewood and pat Cummins, both of whom have balky backs.
Australia’s batting order will have to play at the top of its potential, so a lot of reliance will fall on Shaun marsh, Travis Head, Aaron Finch and Mitch Marsh.
Australia also lacks an elite spinner, but the pitch in UAE will offer enough turn that will hopefully permit Nathan Lyon and Jon Holland to claim an equal or better number of wickets as they did in the recently concluded practice series with Pakistan A.
The first Test will begin on October 7 in Dubai, and then move to Abu Dhabi for Test and Twenty 20, before returning to Dubai for a Twenty20 concluder at the end of the month.