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Imam upbeat ahead of Johannesburg Test

South Africa have an unassailable two-nil lead in the three-match series

PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan opener Imamul Haq is in high spirits ahead of the third and final Test match of the series against South Africa in Johannesburg, despite the match being a dead rubber.

The visitors have already surrendered the three-match Test series after losing the first two Tests in Centurion and Cape Town by six and nine wickets respectively.

Although the result of the match won’t have an impact on the overall outcome of the series, but Imam is confident that the Green Caps will put up a good show at the Wanderers Stadium.

“We’ve lost the series, we know that, but the last match is very important for us because we have to make a statement as we have been working very hard for the last two months,” said Imam after the conclusion of Pakistan team’s practice session on Wednesday in Johannesburg.

Despite ending up on the wrong side of result in the previous two Tests, Imam was keen to shed light on the positives the team has gained from those defeats.

“We have learnt a lot. Some guys have had some good innings in the two Test matches, like innings from Asad Shafiq and Shan Masood in Cape Town. We are still working hard on it and hopefully we will do better in the last Test,” he said.

Imam also conceded that in order to score against a side like South Africa — away from home — it is important to be on top of your game or else you stand little chance of succeeding.

“To score against South Africa, you have to be at your very best, mentally strong and prepare well,” he said. “The wickets are so difficult here. It is very difficult to start on, but when you do get a start it is easier.”

The left-handed opener has gone through a below-par series with the bat so far — scoring just 71 runs in four innings — and while sharing his thoughts on his batting form, he said: “Before coming here, I knew it was not going to be easy, especially for the openers, but it is all about the hard work you do in the net sessions. Whenever I step out on the field, I try my level best to perform well and live up to expectations.”

The 23-year-old also brushed aside the notion that the atmosphere inside the dressing room was not a cordial one, at the moment.

“Despite losing the first two Tests, the atmosphere inside the dressing room is quite positive,” he said. “The team management deserves a lot of credit for this.”

The third Test match between the two sides is scheduled to begin on Friday, January 11.