Mis­bah mulls pace change as Pak­istan seek se­ries lev­eller

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Skip­per Mis­bah-ul-Haq hinted yes­ter­day that So­hail Khan may come in to break up Pak­istan’s three­man left-arm pace at­tack in the sec­ond Box­ing Day Test against Aus­tralia in Mel­bourne.

The tourists are not ex­pected to tinker with their bat­ting af­ter a heroic ef­fort which took them within 40 runs of what would have been a world record win in last week’s Bris­bane se­ries-opener.

But there was spec­u­la­tion that Ra­hat Ali, who took two wick­ets in Bris­bane, could make way for one of the right-arm pace­men-ei­ther So­hail or Im­ran Khan.

Pak­istan’s three-man left-arm pace at­tack was crit­i­cised at the Gabba for be­ing one-di­men­sional and lack­ing va­ri­ety. Mis­bah, whose team must win the Mel­bourne Cricket Ground Test to set up a de­cider in Syd­ney in the New Year, was giv­ing lit­tle away team-wise but praised So­hail’s work ethic.

“So­hail is work­ing hard and he is the guy who gave us five-fors in the pre­vi­ous matches and that’s what we look for when he plays,” he told re­porters on Sun­day.

“He bowls the new ball very well and if he gets you two or three wick­ets with the new ball it is al­ways help­ful for you. He is also good with the re­verse swing.

“Ob­vi­ously he knows that he needs to be good in the later spells be­cause you have to bowl at least 20 overs a day so he is work­ing hard. We are hop­ing that he will be okay.” Mis­bah said Pak­istan’s bowl­ing had been as much of a prob­lem as their bat­ting on re­cent tours of Aus­tralia. But he is hope­ful for a big re­sponse from both his bats­men and bowlers at the MCG. “It’s not just a chal­lenge for the bats­men. It’s a chal­lenge for the bowlers as well,” he said. “The con­di­tions are to­tally dif­fer­ent here, es­pe­cially for the Asian teams. “As a bowler you need to ad­just to these con­di­tions, oth­er­wise you are giv­ing away too many runs and leak­ing too many bound­aries and not putting any sort of pres­sure on the op­po­si­tion.

“You need to be very pre­cise with your lines and lengths in Aus­tralia be­cause of the true bounce and pace. That’s im­por­tant for us as a bowl­ing unit.

“To get 20 wick­ets is al­ways a chal­lenge. But we know and are sure about the bowl­ing com­bi­na­tion that we will have to­mor­row. We are clear about our strat­egy.” Mis­bah said spir­its were high in the Pak­istan camp af­ter they almost pulled off an epic come-from-be­hind vic­tory in Bris­bane, post­ing a mas­sive fourth-in­nings to­tal of 450. “The guys are re­laxed and con­fi­dent that they can per­form well here,” he said. “You can see that ev­ery­body’s spend­ing a lot of time in the nets, work­ing on the ba­sics. They won’t leave any­thing be­hind be­fore we get into the sec­ond Test match.

“That’s a good sign that we are con­fi­dent but at the same time, we’re fo­cused and de­ter­mined. “I’m com­fort­able with the po­si­tion we’re in at the mo­ment as in­di­vid­u­als and as a team.” — AFP

MEL­BOURNE: Pak­istan cricket cap­tain Mis­bah-ul-Haq (L) chats with coach Mickey Arthur (R) dur­ing a prac­tice ses­sion in Mel­bourne yes­ter­day, ahead of their Box­ing Day Test match against Aus­tralia. — AFP

MEL­BOURNE: Pak­istan bats­man You­nis Khan goes through his stretch­ing ex­er­cises dur­ing a prac­tice ses­sion in Mel­bourne yes­ter­day. — AFP

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