Kolkata: Pakistan may have lost the first Test against Australia by just a slender 39 runs at the Gabba, but the situation they bounced back from was something that can galvanise Misbah-ul Haq’s men for the rest of the series. Captain Misbah didn’t mince his words in admitting that there were a lot of positives to be taken away and he feels that his team has, “set the tone for the series” according to reports by The Dawn.
Pakistan were shot out for a meagre 142 in the first innings chasing Australia’s huge 429 in their first innings. Their batsmen looked absolutely clueless against the likes of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood and were reduced to 67-8 at one stage. Jackson Bird along with Starc and Hazelwood scalped three wickets each as they never let the visitors settle down.
However, this wasn’t the story when Pakistan came out to bat in their second innings. They were given a massive 490 to chase by the Australians and this time they looked more settled and took their time in adjusting themselves to the pace and bounce of the pitch.
Opener Azhar Ali, who was out after scoring just five in the first innings played a fluent knock of 71 and veteran Younis Khan, who was out for a duck went to make a well-compiled 65.
However the highlight of the innings was Asad Shafiq’s magnificent knock of 137 which kept Pakistan’s hopes alive of winning this match.
However, even if they have missed out by just 39 runs, Misbah is happy at the way they played in the second innings. The Dawn reports that he (Misbah) said, “Chasing 490 in the last innings after 142 in the first, the character of all the batsmen showed. That was wonderful. I think it has set the tone for the series.”
He also said, “There were a lot of positives for us, especially in Australia where batting is the main problem for us. Now we are looking forward and are confident ahead of the next two Test matches.”
The Pakistan skipper was heavily impressed by Asad Shafiq’s brave knock and described it as one of the, “classiest innings ” he has ever seen.
This is what he had to say, “That is one of the classiest innings I have seen. In the context of the game, the way he handled the pressure playing with the tail, he made a match out of nothing.”
Pakistan once again proved why they are the most unpredictable team in world cricket. After their poor show in the first innings, they produced a stunning show in the second innings as they came really close to chasing down the Australian total.
This is what Misbah had to say on his team’s performance, “It is a totally different scenario when you start your innings with a new ball under lights.”
“They got through us, but in the second innings we showed courage to survive the initial burst with the new ball, then they played their shots.
The mindset was positive. We wanted to score runs, everyone was determined, they showed character and it changed the whole scenario,” according to reports from The Dawn.
Misbah also felt that their team were mentally tough especially after playing together away from home for more than six years. He said, ”
“Playing away all the time from friends, family, everybody, that is difficult for any player and that can sometimes burn a player, mentally they are tired.”
“But overall this team is experienced enough now after playing together for six years, you could say it is a settled team.
They are capable of playing in any conditions because they are mentally tough, they understand Test cricket.”
The second test match is scheduled to start from the 26th of December. It would be interesting to see if they can stage a fightback against the Aussies.