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Pakistan desperate to bounce back in Dubai Test
New Zealand tour of UAE

Pakistan desperate to bounce back in Dubai Test

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed emphasised the importance of long innings on the eve of the second Test against New Zealand starting in Dubai on Saturday.

Pakistan, who succumbed to an agonising 4-run loss in the first match, have struggled in the longest format of the game since the retirements of batting stalwarts Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq last year, with continuous failures while chasing being the major problem.

In the first Test, chasing a target of 176, Pakistan batting collapsed from 130-3 to 171 all out.

But Pakistan skipper says that tomorrow will be a new game but recognise the flaws of their batting.

"What mistakes we committed we have left them in Abu Dhabi," said Sarfraz on Friday.

"If you analyse our last eight Tests or so, our batsmen get out without playing long innings so we have spoken to them about that."

Batting struggles

Since the Younis-Misbah era Pakistan batsmen have scored only three hundreds in eight Tests, one each by Asad Shafiq (versus Sri Lanka in Dubai last year), Mohammad Hafeez and Haris Sohail (against Australia in Dubai last month).

But the main worry for Pakistan is the below-par performances of their two most senior batsmen Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq. Azhar has managed just 422 runs with no hundreds while Shafiq has 590 runs in the period.

Sarfraz said Pakistan are looking to bounce back in the second Test.

"This is an important Test for us so we should play good cricket and we realise how important it is to bounce back and then go on to win the series," said Sarfraz.

Pakistan have called up lanky teenage paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi – who took seven wickets against England Lions in the four-day game in Abu Dhabi this week – but his chance of making a debut in Dubai are slim.

New Zealand confident

New Zealand are mulling the option of including a third spinner in uncapped off-spinner Will Somerville or Tod Astle. The last time they played three spinners in a Test was against India in Kanpur two years ago.

New Zealand batsman Henry Nicholls said his team are more confident after the win.

"Obviously, it was an ideal start for us to win the first Test and we have the belief heading into the second Test," said Nicholls who made a fighting 55 in New Zealand's second innings in Abu Dhabi.

"We bounced back after not an ideal start and found ways in conditions that are foreign to us, so it was nice and has given us confidence heading into the second Test."

"Pakistan will definitely look to bounce back so it's for us to improve and to assess quickly and adjust at a different ground and different wicket," said Nicholls.

Teams (from):

Pakistan:

Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Saad Ali, Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Faheem Ashraf, Mir Hamza

New Zealand:

Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Jeet Raval, Ish Sodhi, Will Somerville, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner