Younis Khan batted superbly: Smith

DUBAI - South Africa had hopes to win the first Test after setting an imposing target of 450 but Pakistan fought back well to save the match on Tuesday.

By Adur Pradeep

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Published: Wed 17 Nov 2010, 11:37 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:47 AM

South African captain Graeme Smith said he knew that it would be difficult to bowl the opposition out on the fifth day on a slow pitch.

“I knew it would be tough to bowl them out in the second innings. The wicket got slower as the game went on. I think once the batsmen got in, it was very difficult to get them out. We needed to create some early chances in the morning. Unfortunately we missed a few chances which probably put us in the back foot,” Smith told reporters after the match.

“Once Younis Khan got in, he batted superbly. Credit for Younis for his knock. I guess we are a bit disappointed that we couldn’t close it off but it was always going to be to be a big push.”

He said the bowlers didn’t get much assistance on the final day.

“It was more difficult for the bowlers to get response on the slow pitch. There weren’t too many options with the ball. There was no reverse-swing on offer throughout the game. The odd ball spun a lot and bounced, but generally for both teams, there wasn’t much assistance. Hopefully there will be more on offer for bowlers in Abu Dhabi.”

The second Test will be held in Abu Dhabi from November 20 to 24.

Asked about the dropped chances in the morning session, Smith said: “We were very precise in terms of taking those chances. Unfortunately it happened today. There were three chances and those guys will be disappointed for that. We will work even harder this week. Those are the things we need to sharpen up, especially over the next four Test matches. It is a crucial area especially when you play against good teams. You need to be sharp as possible.”

He said the performance of batsmen was a big positive from the Test.

“Most of the positives are on the batting front. Again our top six proved their worth and the guys have played superbly well for a long period of time. We seem to be scoring lot of hundreds which is great.”

Asked about the reason why the teams settled for an early draw, Smith said: “We pushed quite hard in this game. It is only three days before the next game and I just wanted to give the players some rest. I think they (Pakistan) were nervous about their middle order if they lost the wickets. But generally we could have closed the game at any stage. By the way they played, draw was a fair result.”

Smith said his team would be keen to put up a good show in the Abu Dhabi Test. “May be we lacked a killer punch here. We just got to refocus ourselves and come out and play good cricket again for five days in Abu Dhabi. It is a successful trip for us so far as we got two trophies already. We would love a third one and we would be pushing hard for it for five days,” he said.

The South Africans have already won the Twenty20 and Test series.

Smith is also happy with the facilities at the Dubai stadium.

“People have been great to us here. The facilities they have provided to us and the way we have been looked after were incredible,” he added.

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