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'Happy with the way we finished' - Misbah satisfied with last session's performance
Pakistan News

'Happy with the way we finished' - Misbah satisfied with last session's performance

Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has lauded his side's commitment in the second Test against England that ended in a tame draw after frequent interruptions due to rain and bad light.

Pakistan's bowlers put in a spirited performance in the final session of the match but a total of 134.3 overs stretched across five days meant there was not enough cricket played to produce a result.

Despite the rather insipid affair witnessed in dreary weather conditions, Misbah extolled his team for an impressive battle in the middle.

Misbah felt Pakistan had gained a lot of confidence heading into the final Test at the same venue as they are still in with a chance to square the series.

"The seamers also bowled really well and I was really happy with the way we finished the match," he wrote in a blog post for the PCB's website.

"That last session, even as the game drifted towards a draw, gives us a lot of confidence going into the last Test. It’s a big game and we want to end the series on a good note."

Pakistan entered the second game at the back of an agonising three-wicket defeat to the hosts at Old Trafford architected by a tremendous partnership between Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler.

Misbah noted that a swift turnaround from the excruciating loss evident from Pakistan's improved display showed they were resilient enough to sculpt a strong comeback.

"It was always going to be difficult to fight back after what happened in Manchester but the players’ commitment and belief was outstanding.

"It was another brave decision to bat first in the second Test given the conditions but everybody took on the challenge. Overall I’m really happy with the way the team batted. Everybody just tried to hang in and score runs."

Misbah singled out top-scorer Mohammad Rizwan for his lionhearted effort as the wicketkeeper-batsman struck a plucky half-century in testing conditions and deservedly earned the man of the match prize for his 72.

"Rizwan fought really hard so that we, at least, had a decent score to put a little bit of pressure on England. He showed glimpses in the first Test, when his wicketkeeping was also wonderful, and against Australia in Brisbane last November," Misbah stated.

"Rizwan has great game awareness and we’re really happy with the way he’s performing. It’s important that players, especially the new ones, show they can perform under pressure and his innings in Southampton will give him a lot of confidence."

'Fitness has been an important part of our strategy'

The 46-year-old former Pakistan skipper highlighted that quality fitness standards continued to be a priority for the team.

The tourists have been spared exhaustion from a condensed schedule in England given the fact that so much time has been lost to unpleasant weather.

"Fitness has been an important part of our strategy as a team since I took on the role of head coach last September and we have seen the benefits in the two Tests so far," Misbah said.

"The players have taken ownership of their fitness levels and they should be given credit for that, especially after three months at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. They know having supreme fitness will help them to perform under pressure."

Misbah referred to Rizwan's active running between the wickets signifying their phenomenal rise in fitness.

"Mohammad Rizwan is a great example of that in the way he ran between the wickets and batted with the tail.

"Shan Masood also showed it in the first Test, batting for almost eight hours, and running really well with Shadab Khan. The way they stole quick singles is something that you don’t see much in Test cricket and certainly not from a Pakistan team."

Misbah also focused his attention on the heated discussion surrounding a possible change in rules for bad light to ensure matches are less affected by low visibility.

Responding to a suggestion of switching to a pink ball for play under floodlights, Misbah opined such an idea would not be reasonable in the long run.

"There has been a lot of discussion about the way bad light affected this Test. In these unusual circumstances, there is room to debate these issues but the pink ball is very different to the red ball and I’m not sure that using it for a whole match – in daylight – is a good idea.

"I think most people prefer to see Test cricket played in the conventional way, which means with a red ball – that’s the beauty of the game."