Sports

Misbah: Pakistan can bounce back against new-look Australia

In this file photo taken on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, Pakistan's cricket team captain Misbah-ul-Haq speaks to reporters in Lahore, Pakistan. Haq will return to lead Pakistan in the three-test series against Australia next month after missing the second test against New Zealand because of suspension and a death in the family. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

In this file photo taken on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, Pakistan's cricket team captain Misbah-ul-Haq speaks to reporters in Lahore, Pakistan. Haq will return to lead Pakistan in the three-test series against Australia next month after missing the second test against New Zealand because of suspension and a death in the family. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq believes it can bounce back from its 2-0 loss in New Zealand when it takes on a new-look Australia in a three-test series next month.

"Australia is not a settled team, and they have made changes in the last (test) match (against South Africa)," Misbah said in Lahore on Wednesday.

"Their new players are familiar with their own conditions, but at the same time when someone comes new into test matches, you have a chance to exploit it."

Australia avoided being whitewashed by South Africa as new caps Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb, and Nic Maddinson won the day-night third test in Adelaide last weekend.

Misbah returned home after losing the first test in Christchurch because of the death of his father-in-law. He would have missed the second test in Hamilton anyway, because he was handed a one-match suspension for another slow over-rate. He will rejoin the team before the first day-night test in Brisbane on Dec. 15.

Pakistan's top order struggled in seaming conditions in New Zealand. They lost nine wickets in the last session in Hamilton to lose by 138 runs.

Only opener Sami Aslam and Babar Azam scored half-centuries in four test innings. However, Pakistan kept faith in the same 16-man squad for the three tests against Australia.

"Conditions were difficult in New Zealand with plenty of grass on both wickets," Misbah said. "But I believe wickets will be better in Australia, and this team has the capability to make a comeback."

Pakistan, which rose to No. 1 in the test rankings, slipped to No. 4 after losing in New Zealand. But Misbah said Pakistan wasn't suddenly a bad team.

"In one series, if your bowlers or batsmen do not perform, you can't say it's not a good team," he said. "We have been taking 20 wickets (in a test match) in UAE, and I hope the players have learnt their lessons in New Zealand."

The 42-year-old Misbah, who has already quit ODIs and Twenty20s for Pakistan, has no immediate plans to quit tests, and said as long as he stayed fit and the team needed him he will play on.

"The team's confidence level has come down with the recent performances in New Zealand. I am focusing on the Australian series and raising the level of the team and regaining the confidence of players.

"I have said before, you don't know what happens tomorrow, but I have no fitness problem and hope to play as long as I stay fit. If I felt the team still needs me and I stay fit, I will continue playing."