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'Fulfilled my responsibilities as an opener according to the team's requirement' – Abid Ali
Pakistan News

'Fulfilled my responsibilities as an opener according to the team's requirement' – Abid Ali

Abid Ali admitted it was tough battling "one of the best bowling attacks" at the Ageas Bowl surface on day four of the third Test but appeared satisfied with his patient second-innings effort.

The Pakistan opening batsman diligently offered an array of defensive shots to hamper England's attempts at securing an innings victory.

With Pakistan forced to follow-on trailing behind a mammoth 310 runs, Abid sculpted a stoical 162-ball 42, which ended just 37 deliveries before stumps.

His contribution, on the surface, may seem insubstantial but in the context of the match, he played his part in boosting the tourists' chances of salvaging a draw.

Speaking to reporters following his dogged knock, he stressed his role in the team related to forging watchful stands with fellow batsmen and making it easier for the middle-order to cope with the older ball.

"Since I am the opener, my role in the team is to see off the new ball. Mentally, my target was to spend as much time as possible at the crease.

"I was successful in that as we set small targets. Things like "let's bat the next hour" and so on. The weather also helped us but I was playing with a positive mindset as I was not focused on scoring profusely. Instead, I prioritised what the team required over my personal goals," Abid said.

While England only need eight more wickets to finish the series on dominant terms, the hosts will have to overpower a resolute Pakistan side and unpredictable weather.

Abid mentioned saving the Test was very much within the grasp of his team given star batsman Babar Azam was batting alongside the well-set skipper Azhar Ali.

"I have full faith [in saving the Test]. Two of our best players – Babar Azam and Azhar Ali – are still playing. And the way Azhar bhai played in the first innings and the good start we have gotten so far, we will hopefully be able to draw. We can't say about the weather, but we are fully prepared to play positive cricket."

'I had been practicing against the short ball'

Abid's stubborn vigil was not devoid of moments of uncertainty, especially when England resorted to a short-ball barrage against the diminutive individual.

Abid, who scored a century in both his Test and ODI debuts, even had to suffer an injury scare when a sharply directed James Anderson short-pitched delivery struck him on the glove.

Wincing over the pain, the embattled 32-year-old soon resumed his grim persistence and later revealed he expected England to pepper him with short-pitched stuff.

"[Facing the short ball] was getting difficult for me as they had planned this strategy but I had practiced correspondingly.

"If an opener gets set, the opposition always comes up with an alternative plan so I was prepared for it and it wasn't that hard. I was trying to play a long innings that would benefit the team," he stated.

"Look, I'm a professional player. It was tough out there but I was trying to give my best according to the team requirements. I was trying to build partnerships in order to extend our innings.

"Obviously, James Anderson is a world-class bowler and I tried to counter him," he added as his demise came off the bowling of the pace bowling great himself.

Although Abid's return in the series may not live up to his promise, he has routinely survived new-ball bursts during his first foreign trip with the national side.

"All our batsmen have performed well, though they could have done better on this tour. It was my last innings today and I was keen on doing my best on my first tour. All I can do is give my best, the rest is in the hands of the Almighty," he assessed.