PAK vs SL 2017, 1st Test: Confident we Got the Quality to Make the Transition Fairly Easy – Mickey Arthur
The script did not unfold as expected for Pakistan on the first day of the ongoing first Test against Sri Lanka, a team which lost seven of its last nine Tests including two whitewashes.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s men had the Islanders on the mat after reducing them to 61 for three, but since then it was nearly a one-way traffic with Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal making life difficult for the hosts.
The duo added 100 runs for the fourth wicket and was looking good to add more, but the promising partnership came to an end when Karunaratne was run-out for 97. His dismissal, however, did not trigger any collapse, as Niroshan Dickwella along with the skipper shared an unbeaten partnership of 66 to help the visitors close the day on a commanding 227 for 44.
Speaking after the day’s play, Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur expressed his disappointment over the pitch but did not regret including another spinner in the playing eleven on a pitch which was looking ideal for the spinners.
“I was disappointed that they took a little bit more of grass of the wicket than I wanted to take. No regrets of not going in with another spinner. I think we have gone in with what we think is our best attack,” Arthur said on Thursday (September 28).
“The ball got pretty soft, and it didn’t reverse for us. All and all I would say we held us pretty well today. The two areas where I think we lacked a bit was probably the first six overs today and then the last eight of the day. The two booking parts of the day I felt we were very average and that was disappointing as that’s when we had the new ball. I think between that we did some good things and we managed to control the rate which gives us another crack tomorrow,” he added.
Arthur also defended the left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir who went wicketless.
“He is a class bowler and his best years are ahead of him. He suffered just a little bit with rhythm early on today and probably was overstriding a little bit and decelerating into the crease,” Arthur pointed out.
“Once we had a message out after two overs, he certainly improved and hit the back hard, and he got his pace back. He hit areas, and I think the key to wickets is to keep hitting areas. What we didn’t do earlier on was that we saw a little bit of grass and we thought we could float the ball around and let the ball do the rest. You still got to be banging and hitting the areas hard. Then I thought we adjusted well and got our lines straight. Amir did some good stuff in the middle as well,” he added.
The former South Africa coach further hoped that legendary batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan would get replaced by the current crop of players.
“You lose two fantastic players you will need some time, but I’m confident we got the quality to make that transition fairly easy,” he said. “If we have a look at our middle order now, I know Azhar Ali has had a phenomenal last year in Test cricket and been quite brilliant.
“Asad Shafiq is a very good player and so is Babar Azam. Those are the three guys I expect to fill the boots in terms of the runs. Between them, we got the opening pair whom I’m hoping goes well. Sami Aslam has played well, and Shan Masood is there in the whereabouts, and he needs on innings to break through. Harris Sohail I think is a good player and we need to take our time with them and make them grow because Test cricket is tough,” Arthur concluded.
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