Our behaviour on the field was outstanding: Justin Langer


DUBAI: Justin Langer, the Australian head coach, is proud of how his team fought to hold Pakistan to a thrilling draw in Dubai and says that the spirit between the two teams was “outstanding” throughout the game, reported ICC. 

“Whether we win or lose we’ve got to keep making Australians proud of how we go about our business,” said the 47-year-old, who was appointed as the Australian head coach in March.

“I’ve said it since day one and I really mean it. I hope to think our behaviour out on the field was outstanding throughout this game. The spirit between Australia and Pakistan was outstanding throughout the game. The way we kept fighting was outstanding throughout the game and then to hold on like we did.

“Aussies love a battler and Aussies love an underdog so hopefully we’ve put some smiles [back home…] because that’s really important for Australian cricket right now.”

In the first innings, Australia lost all 10 for 60 runs, leading to more concern about their weaknesses in the sub-continent. But Langer was thrilled with how the team bounced back from that disappointment.

“When we had that collapse it was so deflating because the things I believe in – in great teams, the preparation and camaraderie – it was all there, and then we have a performance like that and we all start questioning where we’re at. Then to see the way the boys put that preparation into practice throughout the game, but particularly that second innings, is a great credit to all of them.”

Australia, who were 136/3 at stumps on day four, showed tremendous resistance on the final day of the Test to stay put at 362/8 when the stumps were drawn. Langer compared his team’s resurgence in Dubai to their thrilling victory against the same opposition in Hobart in 1999, when the hosts successfully chased down a target of 369 after being 126/5 at one point and got a huge confidence boost.

“I actually talked about that Test match this morning to the boys before the game,” he said. “We felt if we could win from there we could win from anywhere. For us to draw from where we’ve been throughout this game, that’s going to be a huge confidence booster to help us build this team.

“Back then, we won 16 straight Test matches. Now I’m not saying this team is going to do that, obviously, but what I am saying is it was a huge confidence booster back then and I’ve got no doubt for this young team and a very young captain that’s a booster for them.

“Never underestimate how victories like that, even though it was a draw, what a significant event that can be for building a team.

Usman Khawaja, who scored a 302-ball 141 in the fourth innings, was the architect of Australia’s fightback in the game. Langer lavished praise on the left-hander, saying he has “huge admiration for what he’s done over the last six months”.

“I’ve got so much admiration for Uzzie. Look at him. He’s got himself really, really fit to bat in these conditions and to do what he’s done is a great credit to him – then to also overcome the demons [about] whether he can play spin bowling,” he said.

Insisting that he “never had a single doubt that Usman Khawaja could play spin bowling”, he said the batsman’s two innings in the match were a reward for all the hard work he had put in and was a sign of leadership.