Abu Dhabi: Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq is delighted he did not have to make the decision of whether to bat first or bowl in the second One Day International against Australia at Zayed Cricket Stadium on Friday.
Misbah lost the toss and his opposite number Michael Clarke elected to bat, only to find that it was tougher for their bowlers in the second innings with the late night dew ensuring their bowlers struggled to even hold the ball properly.
“It was a good toss to lose because both the teams were not sure what may happen. The day before the match there wasn’t much dew and also in Sharjah it wasn’t that bad, but today the dew really played a major factor,” said Haq, who remained unbeaten on 35 to help his team level the series.
Australia posted 248 for 9 batting first and, when asked what his message was to his players at the half-way stage, Misbah said: “I just told them to keep on batting because, after we completed our bowling, I found there was lot of dew on the ground and that was good news for us. We kept on batting and the way Nasir Jamshed and Azhar Ali played, they showed their class and it was a wonderful innings.
“Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed are basically aggressive batsmen. If they stayed at the crease I knew they would be able to score runs quickly, especially Nasir, who played so many shots and displayed excellent balance.
“This was the key for us he batted through and he made this chase easy.”
Misbah is hopeful his side can repeat this performance in the deciding match at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday and win the series. “We are confident because even in the last game in Sharjah all my players fought hard despite having only a total of 198. I think we were so near to a win at a particular stage.
“It was that performance that gave us the courage to come back into this series. Everybody in my team believes we can win it.
“There is no doubt that the Australians are among the top teams in the world so we have to really play good cricket in the next game. Whatever the momentum we have gained from this win, we know that they will come hard at us and we have to get ready for the next game.”
On spinner Saeed Ajmal, who took four for 32 in the second match, Misbah added: “Ajmal is our No.1 bowler at the moment and he is No.1 spinner in the world. He is playing his role well and getting wickets and winning matches for us.
“My other spinners too have bowled well and our fast bowlers have also done very well in this heat. In short everybody contributed very well for our victory.”