Dropping more catches: Pakistan will rue missed chances, says Bari

Fielders disappoint again as visitors fail to take advantage of bowling-friendly pitch

Our Correspondent August 12, 2016
Moeen was given two reprieves, with both catches dropped by Azhar Ali, and made Pakistan pay heavily for them. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Another chance came and another chance went by; this has been the story of Pakistan on their tour of England and it was no different yesterday as the visitors allowed the hosts to get out of jail on day one at The Oval despite inflicting early damage.

First Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali put on a 93-run stand before Moeen and Chris Woakes took the game to Pakistan with some attacking cricket.

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Bari said it was another story of Pakistan spilling chances as the visitors dropped Moeen several times and Alastair Cook once.

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“Pakistan have once again allowed England to get away despite putting them under pressure,” Bari told The Express Tribune. “Catches win matches — it’s as simple as that. Pakistan have dropped so many opportunities. You can’t expect them to win when you allow the opposition to come back despite being down and out. Throughout this tour, Pakistan have allowed opportunities to slip by, otherwise they have been in the ascendency in this series and not England.”

England won the toss and Cook had no hesitation in opting to bat first as Pakistan made two changes with Iftikhar Ahmad and Wahab Riaz drafted in place of Mohammad Hafeez and Rahat Ali respectively.

England 328 all out against Pakistan

Mohammad Amir gave Pakistan an early breakthrough by removing opener Alex Hales on a personal score of six as England were 23-1.

Wahab Riaz created a chance but Iftikhar spilled a chance at first slip. Thankfully, it did not come back to Pakistan as Sohail Khan got rid of Cook; who made a 50-ball 35, in the next over as he dragged one onto his stumps while trying to pull.

It got even better for Pakistan as Wahab removed the dangerous Joe Root (26) five balls later to leave England at 73-3.

Wahab got another in his next over and this time James Vince fell to him after scoring just one run.

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Gary Ballance (eight) and Johnny Bairstow tried to rebuild the innings but the former became Wahab’s third wicket.

Bari said that Pakistan are likely struggle on this Oval pitch, which has both pace and bounce on offer.

“Pakistan should have restricted England to around 175 because they will face problems on this pitch as it has pace and bounce,” said the former wicketkeeper. “The English bowlers are skilled and they will come hard at Pakistan, who will rue these missed chances.”

And Bari feels Pakistan needed to take advantage of their ascendancy. “It was a golden opportunity for Pakistan to get England out cheaply in the first innings,” he said. “After all, it’s mostly the first innings that decides the course of Test matches. Pakistani batsmen will have to be on top of their game to rectify the mistakes they made in the field otherwise it would be a similar story to Old Trafford.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2016.

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ishrat salim | 6 years ago | Reply @Zee: This is bcz our players lack passion. They play for their own game not as a team. This is also true that the players are selected on whims and not merit and too often changed midway. There is two captains against different formats which does not allow the players to gel properly as different captain has different ways to tackle his players which confuses them.
Zee | 6 years ago | Reply Questions need to be asked about the army of coaches we've had for the past many years, what have they been doing, what's been their achievement so far? There is a bowling coach, fielding coach, batting coach, head coach blah blah and yet we see absolute zero improvement in team's performance on consistent basis.
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