Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmad was in his best mood following his team’s 1-0 series win against Australia on Friday. All those frowns on his forehead before the start of the crucial second Test had vanished. Yes, he suffered from concussion and even missed the fourth day’s play but that was due to the blow he received to the back of his helmet the previous day.

To lead the fightback from 57-5 with a knock of 94 in the first innings and then 81 in the second before inspiring the team to go on to win the match and series has got the skipper smiling again.

“There’s a lot to learn from something like this. The first is that you never, ever give up. To bounce back, there can’t be many teams that can come back from losing five in the first session and then to win in four days by such a big margin. That is what I’ve learnt, to keep fighting,” said an elated Sarfraz.

“We have learnt to make sure that whatever batsmen you have left in an innings, they need to keep batting, the target for them should be not to throw their wickets,” said Sarfraz, who also hailed the performance of his pacer Mohammad Abbas for his heroics with the ball.

“Credit goes to all my bowlers, especially to Abbas. The way he bowled throughout the series was the main factor for us winning the series,” said Sarfraz, who felt the team still needs to immensely improve in the batting and bowling department.

Australians, on the other hand, will have go back to the drawing board. With first Test’s rescue-man Usman Khawaja failing at the top of the order in the first innings and knee injury ruling him out of action in the second, the team couldn’t post a decent total on the board. Both Marsh brothers, Shaun and Mitchell were left soul searching for answers with repeated failures with the willow.

On a wicket where Abbas revelled, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc were ordinary and in the end, things weighed a bit too much on the lone shoulders of off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

“It’s bitterly disappointing, no doubt. We had some momentum from the first Test, started really well here and then from 57 for five, it went a bit pear shaped — to be honest all over the field,” said a dejected looking Australian skipper Tim Paine.

“It’s hard to swallow. We weren’t up to it. We came here to win this series and we did OK in the first Test and showed at least some fight and showed the style and brand of cricket we wanted to play in that second innings. Then to come out and do that this Test is like taking one step forward and two steps back. It’s really frustrating,” revealed Paine.

“Not just our Test team but probably domestically, there’s a lot of collapses throughout our batting group and I think a lot of it can be technical. Some guys will be mental and other guys will be tactical — or your plans not being right for certain bowlers.

“There’s no shying away from the fact we have a hell of a lot to do in our batting and it’s not just this team, it’s through the whole country.”