KARACHI: Former chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed Sallu feels Pakistan lost the third ODI due to their low score on a pitch on which more than 300 runs should have been made.
“The team played beautifully in the second ODI, especially the seniors, and that led the team to victory,” Sallu told The Express Tribune. “The seniors can really motivate the other players and play an important role in winning matches.”
And he believes the stand-in skipper’s failure to score today affected the side. “Mohammad Hafeez was gone too soon, while Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal (who both scored 39) should have scored more runs,” he said. “Had they done so, Pakistan would have been much better placed.”
Sallu once again highlighted the batsmen’s failures to kick on and get big scores, while also stating that the bowlers aren’t to blame. “The pitch and outfield were both very fast and on a pitch like that 263 is not much to defend for the bowlers, especially against the hosts,” he said. “Had Malik and Akmal scored half-centuries, the bowlers would have had less pressure on them.”
Other than Pakistan’s old issue of batsmen throwing away their wickets, the familiar problem of too many dot balls also reared its ugly head once more. “Pakistan played way too many dot balls on a pitch like this where you must be scoring on every delivery,” he said, while also criticising the running between the wickets, where Pakistan struggled.
Sallu did have praise for the two half-centurions though. “Babar Azam, who reached 1,000 career runs in record time, and Sharjeel Khan should be praised for their impressive half-centuries.”
The former Test all-rounder added that Pakistan started off well with the ball but then faded away. “Muhammad Amir and Junaid Khan opened the innings brilliantly by dismissing the two openers but the pressure was lifted soon after.”
From then on, the result never looked much of a doubt. “That was the point when the pressure shifted from Australia to Pakistan and Smith was able to score a century. Pakistan’s bowlers could neither take wickets nor restrict runs by that point,” he added. “The Australian batsman should be lauded for their performance.”
But Sallu feels the next two matches, in Sydney and Adelaide, are winnable fixtures. “They can win the next two matches, especially if the senior batsmen focus on staying out there and scoring big.”
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