Pakistan spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed has backed his bowlers who were thrashed by England in the first innings of the third and final Test match at Rose Bowl in Southampton. The hosts ended the first day’s play at 336 for four with a 5th wicket partnership of unbeatable 205 runs between Zak Crawley and Jos Buttler.
Crawley, 22, got his maiden Test century and stood at 171 unbeaten at the end of the first day’s game. The second Test of England vs Pakistan was drawn after rain played the spoilsport.
Back then, the teams were frustrated to not have completed the match as the pitch conditions were very favourable for the bowlers and the match was turning out to be a competitive one. England had the lead coming into the second match after they dramatically won the first Test match at Old Trafford in Manchester.
The wind made it difficult for the bowlers: Mushtaq Ahmed
Former Pakistani cricketer Mushtaq Ahmed, who is the current spin bowling coach for the Pakistan team blamed the conditions after visitors’ bowlers looked off-colour against English batting line-up. He blamed the pitch to be very flat and the continuous wind for the bowlers to lose their length.
“It was quite tough. The weather played a huge role. The pitch was very flat, and the toss was vital on that pitch. And because the wind was there the whole day, it was very difficult for the bowlers to control their line and length consistently.
“It was tough especially for young bowlers like Naseem [Shah] and Shaheen [Shah Afridi]. They are new to Test cricket but they made a huge effort and they can be proud of it,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Ahmed as saying.
“I think we are working on how to deal with being under pressure. When the opposition attacks your young bowlers, it naturally is difficult for them to handle it. But obviously, the credit goes to Crawley and Buttler. They played very well, and this is a flat first-day pitch. The wind made it even tougher, and that’s not an excuse, but it’s also reality,” he added.
Pakistan need to bowl out England in the first session on day two under 400: Mushtaq Ahmed
Ahmed feels that Pakistan need to bowl out England in the first session on day two well under 400 to have a space of three and a half days to try and achieve the massive target ahead of them.
“We need to try and bowl them out in the first session under 400. That leaves us with over three-and-a-half days and an opportunity to put up a big total ourselves,” he said.
Unfortunately, the play was stopped on the second day due to rain. Jos Buttler stands at 91 runs and Zak Crawley will resume his innings at 171 when the game restarts.