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September 1, 2012
Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has said he was fortunate to have lost the toss to bowl first as the dew in Abu Dhabi in Pakistan's innings helped them chase 249. The Australian bowlers found it hard to grip the ball as the opener Nasir Jamshed led with 97 in a series-levelling victory in the three-match series.
"It was a good toss to lose because both the teams were not sure what may happen. The day before the match there wasn't much dew and also in Sharjah it wasn't that bad, but today dew really played a major factor," Misbah said.
Australia recovered from 87 for 4 to score 248, courtesy Michael Hussey's 61 and contributions from other middle-order batsmen, but the total proved inadequate as Pakistan reached the target with more than six overs to spare. Misbah said the batsmen were given instructions to bat through the innings, as he knew runs would be scored quickly as long as the likes of Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez stuck at the crease.
"Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed are [naturally] aggressive batsmen. If they stay at the crease they will score runs quickly. [Jamshed], especially, played many shots and [had a] wonderful balance. The key for us [was that] he batted through and he made this chase easy.
"[In] chasing a big total there is bound to be pressure, especially against a good [Australian] side. We got a good start and that added to the confidence and made our task easy. [Importantly] dew helped."
The target, however, may have been a lot more had Pakistan's spinners not pegged Australia back for brief periods. The spinners, led by Saeed Ajmal, have been successful against Australia on the slow UAE tracks, with 12 out of 15 Australian wickets in the two games falling to them. Misbah said he wouldn't rule out the possibility of playing an extra spinner in the third ODI in Sharjah, though the decision would depend on the pitch.
"[Playing a fourth spinner] depends on what sort of wicket we get [in Sharjah]. One more thing we have to keep in mind is that we may have to bowl second again, so it might be a problem for the spinners [because of the dew factor]. We have to look into everything."
Misbah praised the fight the side showed in the first ODI, as the spinners made it difficult for Australia to chase 198, which gave the side the belief to beat them in the next game.
"The way we fought despite having only a total of 198, we were nearing a win at one stage. It was this performance that gave us the courage to come into this game and all of us believed we could win it.
"Australians are the No.1 side in the world, so we have to play really well in the next game. They will come hard at us and we have to get ready for the next game."
He said he wasn't certain, however, whether Shahid Afridi, who missed the second ODI due to injury, would be ready for the next game on Monday.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala