Pakistani bowlers failed to exploit conditions, says former chief selector

Salahuddin Ahmed says visitors in dire need of runs to bounce back against New Zealand in Hamilton


Fawad Hussain November 26, 2016
While Pakistan bowlers did get among the wickets, Salahuddin believes that they conceded too many runs in dismissing the Kiwis. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Former chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed (Sallu) believes Pakistan bowlers failed to exploit the pace-friendly conditions in Hamilton yesterday and thereby allowed New Zealand to make a decent score on the second day of the second and final Test of the series.

Pakistan, having lost the opener in Christchurch, must win this Test to not only save the series but also their 30-year-old record of never having lost a series to the Kiwis.

But despite being in a position where nothing less than a win would suffice, Pakistan found themselves reeling on 76-5 at stumps, following yet another top-order collapse.

Earlier, New Zealand compiled 271 runs in their first innings after Pakistan’s stand-in captain Azhar Ali asked the hosts to bat first.

Pakistan in trouble in reply of New Zealand's 271

Opening batsman Jeet Raval, who was dropped by Sami Aslam on the first day made 55, while BJ Watling (49 not out) and Ross Taylor (37) contributed with crucial knocks.

While Pakistan fast bowlers — Sohail Khan (99-4), Imran Khan (3-52), Mohammad Amir (2-59) and Wahab Riaz (1-57) — did get among the wickets, Salahuddin is of the opinion that the fast bowlers conceded too many runs in dismissing the Kiwis.

“It was a good toss to win but the bowlers failed to exploit conditions,” he told The Express Tribune. “In the opening stages [of second day] the conditions were difficult for batting but our bowlers failed to capitalise on that the way New Zealand’s bowlers did in the first Test.”

Babar Azam (34) and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed (nine) will open the third day’s proceedings for Pakistan and Salahuddin believes the duo have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.

New Zealand end first day’s play on 77-2

“We have a long tail in this match and there is a lot of responsibility on Azam and Sarfraz. Both of them should try to prolong their stay and score runs at a decent run-rate. Only then can they give Pakistan a chance in the match.”

Salahuddin, meanwhile, gave his backing to Younus Khan after the veteran batsman failed with the bat yet again, having made only three runs in the first Test. “Younus is going through a bad patch which is unfortunate for Pakistan as he is our top Test batsman. I’m confident he will score runs in the final innings,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2016.

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