Sarfraz Ahmed learns key lessons through victory over Australia


DUBAI: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed says the record 373-run victory in the second Test against Australia has taught his team valuable lessons, reported ICC. 

Things had looked bleak for Pakistan after they had been reduced to 57/5 on the first day of the Test in Abu Dhabi, but the fightback began with a fantastic 147-run stand between the captain and Fakhar Zaman, the debutant opener.

Both Sarfraz and Zaman went on to score 94, falling agonisingly short of a century, but shored Pakistan up to a respectable 282 after a very ordinary start to the innings, thanks also to useful contributions from the lower order. From there on, Pakistan went on to dominate the Test so emphatically that Australia never once looked competitive.

“There are a lot of lessons [from this win],” said Sarfraz. “First of all never give up, there are few teams that can stage such a massive win in four days after losing five wickets in the first session. As a captain, I have learnt that I have to keep fighting and keep telling the remaining players not to throw their wickets away.”

“The contribution by tail becomes very important in such a scenario. Bilal Asif, Yasir Shah, and Mohammad Abbas’s contributions with the bat helped. This is what we have learned.”

“The way we staged the comeback, it makes us look more mentally strong than Australia. Credit goes to Fakhar Zaman on how he played with me. And, then in the second innings again. Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam all of the batters. Pakistan have been a better team in the series,” gushed Ahmed.

The captain, however, wasn’t about to get carried away by the success, accepting that his side has plenty of hard work to put in if they are to become the best team.

“I won’t say this is the best team. We still need to improve a lot. We need to bat maturely if we have to play Test cricket. We give away too many soft wickets after scoring runs. We need to talk to our batsmen about it. Younis Khan used to tell us that if we get going in Test cricket, we should look to prolong our innings. But, we are struggling on that front,” pointed Ahmed.

While pacer Mohammad Abbas allied pin-point accuracy with lateral movement to repeatedly probe the Australian batsmen, finishing the series with 17 wickets at an astounding average of 10.58, the spinners never looked quite as threatening.

“Credit goes to all of my bowlers, especially Mohammad Abbas,” Sarfraz said. “The way he bowled throughout the series. He’s the main reason we won the series… It looks like they did not prepare for Abbas and took him easy. Credit to him on how he bowled. These pitches are not conducive to him. He has been [the best] bowler from both sides.

“We need to improve our spin department despite it being our strength. We need another bowler with Abbas who can bowl not only on these wickets but in foreign conditions as well,” said Ahmed.

There remain a few areas of concern for Pakistan, but the magnitude of their victory against Australia will perhaps give them the inspiration to address those.