Sarfraz Ahmed
Pakistani captain Sarfraz Ahmed Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmad accepted that his team were sucked in by New Zealand’s relentless pressure which resulted in his side’s heartbreaking loss by four runs in their opening Test at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium on Monday.

“We didn’t handle the pressure well is what I would say,” a dejected-looking Sarfraz said. “When we had 40 runs to get, that run out for Babar Azam was the turning point as our collapse started from there. I would say we didn’t handle the pressure well.

Pakistan have failed to chase down low totals in fourth innings in the past as well. Just little over a year ago, Sri Lanka bowled them out for 114 to deny them a win by 21 runs at the same venue and last year against West Indies in Barbados, they were bowled out for 81 in a chase of 187. “It is very disappointing to say the least,” added Sarfraz. “The way we started off yesterday, we felt we will get through to the target easily. But then we lost three wickets and they there wasn’t a good partnership.

“The pitch behaviour on all four days has been the same. It was important for set players to play on and as soon as wickets have fallen, the teams have collapsed be it ours or theirs. But as far as the chase goes we should have achieved that target and it is a huge disappointment for the team.”

Sarfraz did not take anything away from the New Zealanders and credited their left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel for his effort with the ball on debut.

Patel had spun is magic on the turning track and his five-wicket haul was not fluke, admitted the Pakistan skipper.

“New Zealand have bowled well and you should give credit to that,” he said. “The wicket here is not the same that it used to be. The behaviour of the wicket changed a lot and it started to turn a lot but all credit to Ajaz Patel as he was exceptional. 
Sarfraz felt losing wickets after getting starts was the main reason for the setback and they needed to work on it immediately.

“All the dismissals have been soft dismissals,” he said. “We will have to look at all this as set batsmen have got out and you saw that happening in the first innings as well. After getting starts we have not carried on.”

Sarfraz is confident of his side bouncing back in the second Test starting on Saturday in Dubai.

“Things were pretty much in our control and we have wasted the opportunity from our own hands and we will try to make a strong comeback in the next match,” he said. “We have to give confidence to the team, we have to back the batsmen with some confidence-boosting words. The bowlers are doing well and hopefully we can bounce back strongly.”