Pakistan look to end tour with a win in second Test

ABU DHABI - A lot of things have gone wrong in recent times but Pakistan will look to wrap up the month-long tour against South Africa with a win.

By James Jose

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Published: Sat 20 Nov 2010, 11:39 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:48 AM

Pakistan go into the second Test, the final match of the tour, against South Africa, which begins at the Shaikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium from Saturday, with confidence. Pakistan pulled off a draw in the first Test in Dubai, which led to captain Misbah-ul-Haq saying that it felt like a win.

The slightly frail looking batting order stood up and was lent solidity by batting mainstay Younis Khan, who was returning to the Test team, after what seemed like ages. Captain Misbah, who was returning to the team, played a key role along with Younis.

The duo frustrated South Africa for 57 overs and put together an unbroken stand of 186 runs.

Younis, who last figured in a Test in July, served up his 17th Test hundred, an unbeaten 131, while Misbah made an unbeaten 76. Azhar Ali made a crucial 63, coming in at No 3 as Pakistan finished up at 343, chasing 451. Pakistan had conceded a 132-run first innings lead.

With Wahab Riaz injured, Younis also chipped in with his gentle medium pace and held one end up. “In cricket you need confidence and at this point of time our confidence is high after drawing the first Test, especially batting was our problem but all batsmen did well in the first Test,” Misbah said on the eve of the Test.

Pakistan have not won a Test series since beating the West Indies at home in 2006 and Misbah said it was time to change that.

“At the back of the mind you have all these facts and we are getting motivation from that and want to win the series,” said Misbah.

Pakistan have won only one series against South Africa in six attempts.

Pakistan are likely to drop batsman Umar Akmal—penalised for his rash shot in Dubai—and hand a Test debut to Asad Shafiq. Pacer Tanvir Ahmed could come in place of the injured Wahab Riaz.

But Pakistan need to be wary of a strong South African line-up, which has wrapped up the Twenty20 and ODI segments of the tour. South Africa beat Pakistan in both the Twenty20 matches and took the five-match one-day series 3-2.

South African captain Graeme Smith said he would like to end the tour with a clean sweep in all three formats before hosting the world’s No 1 ranked team India next.

“For us it has been a successful tour in terms of the end results and we would love to add Test series to that before playing India,” said Smith.

South Africa are second in the Test rankings.

Smith said that the pitch for the second Test, which has a tinge of grass on it, looked a bit similar to the one in Dubai.

“It’s difficult to say how the pitch will behave, but it looks similar to Dubai, maybe a few more cracks in the heat might open up a bit and help bowlers,” said Smith.

But South Africa need to tighten up their fielding which was average by their lofty standards. They spilled three catches, two off Younis on the final day of the first Test.

“I think when you do it, it’s always such a shock, especially when we have been so consistent in that area of the game and that is one of the reasons why we have been successful in Test cricket. You can’t afford to give good players lives because they make it count as Younis did, the guys are working on that and hopefully in this Test match we are more precise in that area,” said Smith.

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