Not nervous at all to chase, says Asad Shafiq

Middle-order batsman confident about Pakistan’s chances at Lord’s

Not nervous at all to chase, says Asad Shafiq Photo: AFP

Pakistan batsman Asad Shafiq is not too concerned about chasing in the fourth innings despite Pakistan’s tendency to wilt under pressure when posed with such a task.

“Our batsmen are up for the task and not nervous about chasing in the fourth innings. The way we chased against Ireland has given us a lot of confidence,” said Shafiq.

Pakistan were eyeing an innings victory over England with the home side reeling at 110-6 but an unbeaten 125-run partnership between Jos Buttler, who is making a comeback, and debutant Dominic Bess averted chances of complete capitulation.

Shafiq praised the duo for their brilliant rear-guard action but hoped that Pakistan can restrict the target to under 150.

“I think Buttler and Bess played really well despite our good bowling but will try to dismiss them quickly on the fourth day in order to prevent England from gaining a substantial lead. Ideally we want to keep the target under 150,” said the right-handed batsman.

He added: “The new ball will be available soon and hopefully the bowlers, especially Amir and Abbas, can utilise it to good effect and complete the job.”

Speaking about whether Pakistan would risk Babar Azam, who fractured his forearm in the first innings, Shafiq said that the decision will be based on the discretion of the team management.   

“In case Pakistan needs Azam to bat in the second innings, it will be up to the team management to decide whether he should go out there in the middle,” said Shafiq.

Until the final couple of hours on day three, Pakistan dominated every session of the Test match and Shafiq felt that the experience of playing with the duke ball back home is one of the major reasons behind the team’s success so far on the tour.

“The experience of playing with the duke ball in domestic cricket has helped us a lot, both in batting and bowling. Bowlers are used to the dynamics of bowling with the duke, while the batsmen have developed the ability to counter the constant movement it offers,” said the 32-year-old batsman.

England will resume the fourth day on 235-6 with a lead of 56 runs with Buttler and Bess looking to build on their efforts from the previous day.

Pakistan, on the other hand, will look to knock over the remaining wickets quickly before things go pear-shaped for them.