Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq heaped praise on England for their superb comeback to clinch the One-Day International (ODI) series after the tourists were routed in the preceding Tests.
England thumped Pakistan by nine wickets in the third match to take an unassailable 3-0 lead, leaving the fourth and final match that takes place tomorrow as inconsequential.
Misbah, who lost his first ODI series as captain after four wins since taking over charge, said England were the better side.
“It’s not a nice feeling when you lose,” said Misbah. “We need to give credit to England for the way they’ve come back after defeat in the Tests. I feel they have played much better cricket than us and were very disciplined.”
Fast-bowlers Steven Finn and Stuart Broad shared six wickets between them to help England restrict Pakistan to 222 despite half-centuries from Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal.
England then chased down the target in 37.2 overs with Kevin Pietersen ending his 36 innings century drought with an unbeaten 111 and Alastair Cook scoring 80 – narrowly missing a third consecutive hundred.
Misbah said England attained world number one ranking in Tests through consistent performance.
“We expected a comeback and they showed that they learnt from their mistakes.”
Misbah was also disappointed at Pakistan being unable to play in the country due to security concerns. “I feel the fact that we’re playing away from home can be a factor. Sometime you feel home sickness. It’s not that I’m giving an excuse but it happens when you’re not playing at home.”
Pietersen, Cook relish win
Meanwhile, Pietersen and Cook showed great delight in England clinching the series, saying a win in sub-continent like conditions was amazing.
“We got hammered in India,” said Pietersen of a 5-0 ODI defeat against India last year. “Sub-continent tours are not very easy for us and to be three nil up makes everyone happy.”
“Cook is turning out to be a very good one-day cricketer. His technique in Test cricket is sensational and he is doing well in ODIs.”
Cook, who took over as ODI captain last year, has been in superb form and was pleased with the way his side moved on from the Test defeats.
“It shows a lot of character to turn that around,” said Cook. When we lose three Tests in a row it is tough. You could be feeling down on yourself.
“But I think everyone has played a crucial part at some stage in the three games. It is very satisfying victory for us.”
Finn excited with progress
The in-form paceman, who has taken 11 wickets in the three ODIs, said he was bowling well since the start of the tour in January.
“I said at the beginning of the trip that I thought I was bowling well. I thought that I was capable of playing. It’s nice to just get an opportunity and helping the team win games really spurs me on.”
The two sides contest the final ODI before the Twenty20 series starts on February 23.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2012.