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January 17, 2010
Rain held up what was shaping into an increasingly inevitable Pakistan defeat on the fourth day. More rain on the last day might yet prevent them from a fourth successive series whitewash against Australia. But Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan coach, said his side would battle it out on the last day and not "hope" for rain to save them.
Pakistan were set a target of 438 runs for a first win against Australia since 1996, but more importantly just under five sessions to bat out for a draw. But they lost regular wickets against some disciplined, probing bowling and when rain ended play an hour before the scheduled close, they had stumbled to 103 for 4.
"It is very difficult now, since we have lost four wickets," Intikhab said. "I thought conditions were a little different today. They did help the fast bowlers. Yesterday we saw the sun was shining and batting was a little easier. We have to make a sincere effort tomorrow. We're not hoping for rain, let me tell you this. We don't play cricket like this. We have to make an effort to make sure that things that happened in the past, put them away and try and save this match."
Pakistan will try to draw some positives from a tour that has gone downhill from the fourth and final day of the second Test in Sydney. Intikhab said that, in particular, some of the senior players will have to up their game for future challenges.
"I have said before we had a gap for almost two years where we didn't play Test cricket," Intikhab said. "I'm not making excuses but we have played too much ODI and Twenty20 cricket. It's a bit difficult when you are playing too much ODI cricket and you come to Test cricket. In Test cricket you need to be very patient and determined. You need good technique, occupation of crease, shot selection, you have to be very determined to do that.
"I do hope we can learn from our mistakes, especially the senior players. They have got to take responsibility to try and stay at the wicket and it hasn't happened here. We can learn from our mistakes, we have youngsters in the side and they are learning. It takes time. There aren't any superstars in the team, so they have to really show what they are made from and learn from mistakes. Good sides always learn from mistakes and they get better and better."
Pakistan have a fairly busy year ahead, the centre of which will be a long, three-month trip to England where they will play two Tests against Australia and four against England. Intikhab believes that the difficulty of this trip will hold his side in better stead for those Tests.
"If you look at the history of Pakistan in Australia, we have never won a series here and only a few Tests," he said. "Other teams who come here also have problems. This time I was very confident we could win and we got to a stage that we could have won. But the fielding has been our biggest thing - even with our batting - we could've won it. But from here, we can go and beat other teams. Losing here, we will go and perform better against other teams. We've always done it because Australia toughens you up like that."
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