Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed minimize a strikingly upbeat determine at his post-match press convention regardless of acknowledging the problem his crew confronted to keep away from their second successive whitewash in South Africa. It was a day of relative private success for a person who has been below extreme stress for a lot of the tour, with Sarfraz stroking a cultured half-century and breaking the document for many dismissals by a Pakistan wicketkeeper in opposition to South Africa in a Take a look at match. Nonetheless, Sarfraz additionally pointed in direction of a number of missed alternatives for Pakistan to return away from day two in a greater place.
“I believe in the event you speak about our day, we had an opportunity to get to 262 runs however we did not get it,” Sarfraz mentioned. “When me and Babar have been batting, we have been considering we must always play constructive cricket. Sadly, I could not rating greater than 50. If I would scored 50-70 extra runs, the place we would be in could be a lot better.”
He bemoaned a couple of “dangerous photographs” in direction of the tip of the Pakistan innings, paving the way in which for the collapse that allowed South Africa to maneuver right into a commanding place. Sarfraz and Babar Azam had launched a superb counterattack after Pakistan have been in dire straits at 91 for five. The pair added 78 runs in solely 10.1 overs, and abruptly Pakistan appeared like they’d South Africa’s first-innings rating of their sights.
However from the second Sarfraz poked at one barely huge of off stump to the slips, Pakistan slumped as soon as extra. Babar Azam lofted one straight into tremendous leg’s lap 4 balls later, and earlier than you knew it, the guests had been bowled out for 185, permitting South Africa a hefty 77-run lead. Sarfraz acknowledged his personal duty within the collapse, admitting he had performed a poor stroke.
“I believe we performed a few dangerous photographs. I believe my shot was additionally a foul shot, and Babar’s too. In the event you see the final 5 wickets, there have been three dangerous photographs. Mine, Babar’s and Faheem [Ashraf’s]. If we hadn’t performed these photographs, perhaps we would be in a a lot better place.
“The issue of dropping too many wickets rapidly is one we have been dealing with for the previous 10-12 innings. We had the identical downside within the first Take a look at match, the place Shan [Masood] and Imam [ul-Haq] batted nicely, and as soon as they acquired out we misplaced too many wickets. It was the identical in Cape City, and now the identical right here. It is an issue we’re dealing with and we have now to work on this.”
Even so, Pakistan’s bowlers helped them storm again into the sport in a disciplined hour of bowling with the brand new ball. Dean Elgar was undone by a magnificence from Mohammad Amir that minimize him in half and took the sting, earlier than Mohammad Abbas’s self-discipline and refined motion noticed him draw Aiden Markram’s edge. Within the 15th over, Faheem eliminated Theunis de Bruyn and Zubayr Hamza inside three balls to go away South Africa tottering at 45 for four. That they ended the day having added 90 extra runs for the lack of only one extra wicket disenchanted Sarfraz, who believed the bowlers had taken their foot off the pedal in direction of the shut.
“I believe our bowling, particularly the final 45 minutes, we weren’t up to speed,” he mentioned. “We bowled very well general however the final one hour we did not bowl nicely. In the meanwhile, in the event you speak about our bowling assault, we’re solely bowling nicely in patches. If we bowl nicely constantly all through an innings, I do not suppose South Africa will rating as many runs in opposition to us.”
For a person carrying the load of a nation’s expectations, there wasn’t a lot time to get pleasure from any private triumphs, however he did say he had made a slight technical adjustment for the reason that Centurion Take a look at match, the place he scored a pair.
“In the event you see my first two innings, my toes weren’t shifting very a lot in any respect. My batting model hasn’t modified. So I labored on my toes motion, so fortunately I am taking part in nicely in the mean time. If you wish to rating right here it’s important to play constructive cricket. As a result of the great ball is rarely far-off. In the event you see Markram or Hashim [Amla], each time they see the dangerous ball they put it away. In the event you do not play constructive cricket, you’re going to get out at any time.”
With South Africa 212 runs forward with 5 wickets nonetheless in hand, Sarfraz can be hoping for one closing burst of positivity from each bowlers and batsmen. Whereas the collection could also be misplaced, if Pakistan can pull off the unlikeliest of outcomes right here, it might go a large method to assuaging the negativity pervading the Pakistan camp all through this tour.