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Mahmood admits lack of practice matches cost Pakistan against South Africa

Visitors ended up on the losing side of the three-match Test series

PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood has admitted that lack of warm-up games in South Africa led to defeat in the three-match ongoing series.

Talking to media after the conclusion of day three in Johannesburg, former all-rounder suggested that result might've been different if the Men in Green had more practice matches.

“It is always a tough outing for a sub-continent team to visit South Africa, but, if we had one or two [warm-up] more games before playing the Test matches then it could have been a different ball-game," said Mahmood.

Pakistan batsmen had a tough outing throughout the tour apart from a few individual performances by Shan Masood and Babar Azam. However, they put up a good fight back while chasing 381 in the third and final Test match of the series to avoid 3-0 defeat. The Green Caps are still 228 runs behind with seven wickets in hand.

Commenting on the playing condition in South Africa, Mahmood admitted batsmen did not fulfill their responsibility.

“The conditions are tough here," he said. "We have seen alot of uneven bounce on this tour but I guess we didn’t bat well.”

Mahmood — who has represented Pakistan in 21 Test and 176 One-Day Internationals (ODI) — also praised Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock and veteran Hasim Amla for their efforts that took the game away from Pakistan.

“I think it was our plan to bowl them out cheaply so that we were chasing 270-280 runs but credit to De Kock and Amla as they played really well,” he said. “They left the ball very well, and when they got the opportunities they hit the boundaries as well.”

Bowling coach also appreciated Pakistan batsmen for showing some fight while chasing a mammoth total in the fourth innings.

"If you see, the boys are playing well now," he said. "Shan and Imam both played well as Asad Shafiq is still out there. In this ground there are a lot of boundary options and you don’t get runs from singles.”

He further said: “If you see for the last three days, everyone took the heavy roller and the pitch has slightly flattened out but the uneven bounce is still there as we saw in the last hour, so that’s the problem here.”

Pakistan will resume their fourth innings from 153-3 on day four on Monday.