Pakistan skipper says they missed chances which could’ve helped them win first Test
At the end it became a task too difficult for Pakistan to get Australia out on a day five pitch as the visitors drew the first Test of the two-match series in Dubai.
At the start of the last day, Australia were already hurting after losing three wickets in the last session on day four.
However, Usman Khawaja did not let his head fall down and kept his focus straight to drag his team till the near-end.
Travis Head, his overnight partner, lost his wicket to Hafeez, and incoming Labuschagne wasn’t able to show much resistance too but captain Tim Paine had a plan when he walked in at number six.
He led the team’s charge towards a draw since playing rash shots was too dangerous on the track — a lesson they learned quickly after their first innings debacle, where they lost all wickets for just 202, in reply to Pakistan’s mammoth 482, even after the openers paired up for 142 runs.
Yasir Shah went wicketless in the first innings, but he made sure he turned a drab draw into an interesting contest at the very end of the fifth day as he dismissed Khwaja and then bagged the wickets of both Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle in a single over.
Sarfraz Ahmed had run out of ideas and he brought his first innings hero Bilal Asif to join the attack with Yasir, and later pacer Mohammad Abbas too, but to no use as Australia strolled through the remaining few overs.
“We hoped to roll them out but we have to give credit to Khawaja,” said Safraz in the post-match ceremony. “We had an idea that he would understand our tactics but it wasn't easy to bat and despite that he soldiered on, we must give him credit. We need to work hard — in Tests you learn as much as you play.”
He continued by praising right-arm pacer Abbas: “We should praise Abbas a lot. The way he bowled on this pitch after returning from County cricket was tremendous. The batsmen who got their opportunities also took them; that's a positive. We could have won this but Tests are like this. We're sad, but the opposition also played well and we need to acknowledge that.”
Meanwhile, opposition captain Paine was proud of how the team performed under pressure.
“It was an extremely tough Test match. Pakistan played very well and had us under the pump for three days. I am proud of our comeback. Everyone had a plan. Usman was more defensive than usual. There was a bit of a collapse but the guys have been working hard over the last few months and I'm happy everything's gone to plan,” he said.
He added that Australia have to play better cricket in the next Test in Abu Dhabi: “I was nervous [in the last 45 minutes]. I think that's how it happens here. If batsmen get in, it's easy. Really proud of the way our tail stuck at it. No it doesn't feel like a win. We were outplayed. Proud to get something out of it, but we can play a lot better in the next Test.”