Misbah, Strauss hail Pakistan

2012-01-28 19:29
Andrew StrausS (Gallo)

Abu Dhabi - Rival captains Misbah-ul Haq and Andrew Strauss acknowledged Pakistan's excellent performance which saw them win the second Test against England by 72 runs in a thrilling finish here on Saturday.

Left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman rocked England - chasing a tricky 145-run target - with 6-62 which helped Pakistan bowl out their opponents for a paltry 72 on a weary fourth day Abu Dhabi Stadium pitch.

This was the world's top ranked Test team's lowest total against Pakistan in all Tests, worse than the 130 they made at The Oval in 1954 and again in Lahore in 1987.

The victory gives Pakistan an unassailable 2-0 lead with the third and final Test in Dubai. They won the first Test by ten wickets in Dubai.

Misbah said Pakistan's win was a huge achievement.

"It's a big win against the top side in the world," said Misbah, who has won eight of the 14 Tests since taking over as skipper in October 2010. "I don't have words to describe this win which was made possible through a team effort."

Misbah said his team has proved it can do well against the world's best teams.

"There was a lot of pre-series talk that it's our first big real test against a top team, so we had a very good opportunity to prove ourselves and the team has done well to prove this," said Misbah, who has not lost a series yet.

Pakistan were able to at least set some sort of target by Azhar Ali (68) and Asad Shafiq (43) who put on an invaluable 88 runs for the fifth wicket before left-armer Monty Panesar finished them off for 214 with 6-62.

Misbah said his team believed they could beat England despite setting them what looked on the face of it a modest run chase.

"I think we had the realisation that we will have to fight whatever the target is and we also knew that the England batsmen were not scoring runs, they were struggling, especially when the ball was turning.

"We had a good hope that we could make a match out of it and in the end the bowlers proved that and bowled well to give us the win," said Misbah, of his bowlers which saw Saeed Ajmal also take 3-22, taking him to the landmark of 100 wickets in 19 Tests.

He became the fastest to 100 wickets for Pakistan, beating Waqar Younis and Mohammad Asif who reached the target in their 20th Test.

Asked will his team look for a clean sweep against England, Misbah said: "We will try to do our best, we are up against the best team so they can come back in the series, but we will do what we can do, play well."

Strauss praised Pakistan's performance.

"Pakistan have thoroughly deserved their victory in the series," said Strauss, whose team was unbeaten in their previous nine series since losing to the West Indies in early 2009.

"We’ve been below where we want to be and we need to come back and bounce back strongly from this."

Strauss lamented England's weakness in the sub-continent.

"As I said at the start of this tour this is the final frontier in a lot of ways, the sub-continent. English sides haven’t done very well out here in the past and we came here and approached things pretty positively.

"I think we felt we had a great chance to win this series. But, I think the fact we got rolled over twice in Dubai and here meant that there was some baggage there going into this final innings," said Strauss.

Strauss admitted low targets are tricky.

"Sometimes those sorts of totals are the hardest to chase because you know that you’re almost there. I suppose it’s easy to get caught between two schools, whether to be patient and wait for scoring opportunities."

Strauss said England did well to be in a winning position on the first three days.

"It’s bitterly disappointing becuase we’d worked so hard over the course of the game to get ourselves into a winning position and you’ve got to give a lot.

"But having done all that hard work you need to go on and complete the job, we just didn’t play well enough, individually and collectively."

Both teams will also play four one-day internationals and three Twenty20 after Tests.

Read more on:    andrew strauss  |  misbah-ul haq

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