Mohammad Yousuf grateful for rain in Napier
A combination of resilience for two days and rain on the last enabled Pakistan to escape with a draw in the third Test in Napier. Chasing 208 in a minimum of 43 overs, New Zealand's openers, BJ Watling and Tim McIntosh, added 90 in 19 overs before it began to rain and play was abandoned. Mohammad Yousuf, the Pakistan captain, was a relieved man and admitted the rain had helped Pakistan avoid defeat and secure a 1-1 draw in the series.
"We were lucky. Allah helped us because of rain, otherwise it would be difficult to defend 208 on this track," he said. "In the first innings we made 223 on this track which was very less. After that we saved the game, I think it is a good performance."
On a beautiful batting surface, Pakistan imploded in the first innings and were reduced to playing catch-up once New Zealand secured a lead of 248. The visitors put up a resolute batting effort in the second innings where six of the top seven batsmen went past fifty, a performance that pleased Yousuf.
Looking back at the closely fought series, Yousuf said that the teams were similarly matched but that New Zealand had home advantage. According to him, Pakistan cricket would suffer unless they had a better balance between home and away games. "If we play some games in Pakistan, it will help our youngsters and seniors as well. It is very difficult to play away series all the time with the conditions against us", he said.
Yousuf was concerned about the inexperience in his batting line-up, but believed that the performances of Umar Akmal and Danish Kaneria were good signs for the upcoming tour of Australia. "I am worried about our batting because of lack of experience," he said. "This game, we threw away our wickets in the second innings. The bowlers did not get our wickets. They worked hard, but we threw away the wickets.
"Umar Akmal batted so well through the series. Danish Kaneria bowled well in the last two Tests. On this track, he took seven wickets, I think it's the best bowling I've seen in a long time because there was no help for spinners."
Yousuf did not want to play up his side's chances in Australia, but expected his side to play competitive cricket, irrespective of the result.