Pakistan captain Azhar Ali yesterday said that adapting to conditions more quickly and building partnerships were both crucial if his team hopes to snap a miserable Test record in Australia.
The visitors crashed to an innings and 48 runs defeat in the second Test in Adelaide, following an innings and five-run loss in Brisbane.
It added to an already poor record in Australia, with Pakistan now beaten in 14 consecutive Tests.
Azhar said it is crucial to arrange more “A” team tours to give young hopefuls experience of what to expect in Australian conditions.
“They will get a lot of benefit from that,” he said, adding that Test teams arriving in Australia earlier would also help. “These are the best batting conditions anywhere in the world. If you can get used to the bounce and pace you can make runs, but it needs to be a team effort, partnerships are important. To win Test matches we also have to take 20 wickets and we have to work out how we can do that in Australia. Getting in front of the game here is very important.”
Pakistan did have some successes during the tour. Babar Azam reinforced his reputation as top-notch batsman, hitting a century in Brisbane and 97 in Adelaide.
Spin bowler Yasir Shah also adapted well to score a maiden Test century, but they were let down by an inexperienced and young fast bowling attack that was taken apart in Adelaide by David Warner on his way to 335 not out.
Despite the crushing loss, Azhar said the team would take some positives from the tour.
“We lacked in all departments in both Tests, but we take some positives,” he said. “If you don’t bowl [a] good line they always score quickly and you have to field well. When you get in, score big and make big partnerships.”
“Babar has been exceptional in this series, that’s a great positive,” he added. “It’s very hard here with a young bowling attack, we came with a lot of expectations, but it didn’t go well. We will learn a lot.”
N ZEALAND V ENGLAND
AFP, HAMILTON, New Zealand
Joe Root yesterday could not hide his delight after a masterful 226 ended his run drought and gave England a much-needed boost in the second Test against New Zealand as they ended the fourth day believing they can square the series.
It took a five-wicket haul for the tireless Neil Wagner to bring England’s first innings to an end at 476, a lead of 101.
At stumps, New Zealand were 96-2 and needing to bat late into the final day, although rain could yet have the last word with further showers forecast for today.
“It felt good,” Root said as he put a stream of low scores behind him. “Once I got in and had the bit between my teeth I wanted to make it a real big one, and try and get us in a position where we can force a result in this game. I know there’s a bit of weather around, but you just never know. It’ll be one big last push from everyone to try and come away with a leveled-up series.”
Root said it had been a frustration more than a worry that he had gone 14 Test innings without a century, but his return to form gave him confidence.
“It’s nice to get back to scoring some big runs,” he said. “I found a really good rhythm out there, felt pretty comfortable and I just wanted to keep going. It’s been a while since I’ve had that amount of time out in the middle and you get really hungry for it.”
New Zealand openers Jeet Raval (0) and Tom Latham (18) were out early in their second innings. For Raval it continued a disappointing run in which he has failed to reach double figures in six of his past 10 innings.
However, after being 28-2, New Zealand’s most skilled batsmen Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor prevented further damage, with Williamson on 37 at stumps and Taylor on 31.
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