Leeds - Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed insisted he was proud
of his youthful side even after an innings and 55-run defeat at Headingley
denied them a Test-series victory in England.
That overwhelming loss, completed inside three days on
Sunday, meant the two-match campaign ended all square at 1-1 following what
Sarfraz said was Pakistan's "perfect" nine-wicket victory in the
first Test at Lord's.
Defeat left Pakistan still looking for their first Test
series success in England since 1996, when fast-bowling greats Wasim Akram and
Waqar Younis were in the side.
Despite skittling England out for just 184 in their first
innings at Lord's, Sarfraz elected to bat after winning the toss in Leeds.
While the Headingley pitch provided a typically good surface,
overhead conditions quickly became humid and cloudy, creating a swing-friendly
environment that made batting difficult.
Even so, Pakistan would still have expected to have made
more than their 174, which featured a third fifty in as many Tests from teenage
leg-spinner Shadab Khan.
That total meant they were always chasing the game and, were
just one individual effort away from conceding a large first-innings lead.
Having fielded brilliantly as a side at Lord's, Pakistan saw
Hasan Ali drop a routine catch when Jos Buttler was on four.
The dashing Buttler punished Pakistan with an unbeaten 80 in
an England reply of 363.
Pakistan, 189 behind on first innings, then slumped to 134
all out in 46 overs second time around as their top order again failed to fire.
But having also overseen a victory over Test debutants
Ireland in Dublin during this tour, Sarfraz was pleased with Pakistan's
"When we came here people thought we will not win one
game but the way we played at Lord's everything was perfect, our fast bowling
was perfect, our batting and fielding were perfect," Sarfraz told
"It's disappointing that we had a chance to win the
series but unfortunately we didn't play well here."
Overall there were still plenty of plus-points for Pakistan,
not least the bowling of seamer Mohammad Abbas who took a match-winning eight
for 64 at Lord's.
"I am proud of my young team, the way Abbas is bowling,
Shadab is doing well, Faheem Ashraf did well, so I'm really disappointed that
we didn't win (at Headingley) but 1-1 is good for us," said wicket-keeper
Experienced opening batsman Azhar Ali averaged just 16.75
during the series while Sarfraz averaged 10.33 - well below his career Test
mark of 37.78.
"Azhar is our main batsman, it's correct he is not in
good nick but he scored a good fifty at Lord's," said Sarfraz.
As for his own batting, Sarfraz added: "I am not
satisfied with my batting in the series.
"I committed mistakes and played a few bad shots."
Pakistan arrived for this tour having gone several months
without a Test since a 68-run defeat by Sri Lanka in Dubai and Sarfraz said
playing three in relatively quick succession was always likely to prove a tough
challenge for his team.
"We played our last Test in October, so it's difficult
when you play a Test after five or six months. Test cricket is a different
format, you have to adjust to five-day cricket. If you have to field for two
three days, it's tough," explained Sarfraz.
"The more you play Test cricket, you get to mature as
Test player. Now we have five Tests in the UAE (two against Australia and three
against New Zealand), then we have three in South Africa and that will help us
mature as a Test team," he added.