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Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam can fill the void in middle order: Mickey Arthur

Pakistan are playing Sri Lanka in the first Test of the two-match series in Abu Dhabhi. Sri Lanka rode on Dimuth Karunaratne's 93 to make a comeback after being reduced to 61/3.

By: Express Web Desk | Published: September 29, 2017 11:15:40 am
Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, Yasir Shah, Dimuth Karunaratne,Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Mickey Arthur, sports news, cricket, Indian Express Pakistan are playing Sri Lanka in two-Tests series. (Source: AP)

Pakistan are playing Sri Lanka in the first Test of the two-match series in Abu Dhabhi. Sri Lanka rode on Dimuth Karunaratne’s 93 to make a comeback after being reduced to 61/3. Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said that he doesn’t really regret the decision of playing one spinner in this match.

“I was disappointed that they took a little bit more of grass of the wicket than I wanted to take. No regrets of not going in with another spinner. I think we have gone in with what we think is our best attack,” Arthur said

“The ball got pretty soft and it didn’t reverse for us. All and all I would say we held us pretty well today. The two areas where I think we lacked a bit was probably the first six overs today and then the last eight of the day. The two booking parts of the day I felt we were very average and that was disappointing as that’s when we had the new ball. I think between that we did some good things and we managed to control the rate which gives us another crack tomorrow.”

Yasir Shah bagged two Sri Lankan wickets on first day of the Test match.”I think there was enough there for Yasir to attack and he has done that. Yasir’s role in the first innings is just to hold for us. Today he became that striker because there was enough. We were good and okay through those periods of time. If we go bang bang tomorrow morning then we can restrict them under 300 which is going to be good for us,” Arthur said.

“Once we had a message out after two overs he certainly improved and hit the back hard and he got his pace back. He hit areas and I think the key to wickets is to keep hitting areas. What we didn’t do earlier on was that we saw a little bit of grass and we thought we can float the ball around and let the ball do the rest. You still got to be banging and hitting the areas hard. Then I thought we adjusted well and got our lines straight. Amir did some good stuff in the middle as well.”

Pakistan have certainly gone into a transition period after Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan bid adieu to the game but the coach feels that his side does consist of players who take up the responsibility.

“You lose two fantastic players you will need some time but I’m confident we got the quality to make that transition fairly easy,” he said. “If we have a look at our middle order now, I know Azhar Ali has had a phenomenal last year in Test cricket and been quite brilliant,” he said.

Moreover, Arthur suggested that players like Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam are good and he expects them to fill up the voids.

“Asad Safiq is a very good player and so is Babar Azam. Those are the three guys I expect to fill the boots in terms of the runs. Between them we got the opening pair whom I’m hoping goes well. Sami Aslam has played well and Shan Masood is there in the whereabouts and he needs on innings to break through. Harris Sohail I think is a good player and we need to take our time with them and make them grow because Test cricket is tough,” he added.

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