South Africa tour of UAE 2013-14 October 20, 2013

Whatmore aims for strong series finish

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Dav Whatmore has first-hand experience of how South Africa deal with losing. Thirteen years ago, they were cleaned up by an innings and 15 runs in Galle, thanks to a 13-wicket Muttiah Muralitharan special, and responded with a seven-run win in Kandy to square the series. Jacques Kallis is the only survivor from that tour but Whatmore believes South Africa still retain that attitude.

"They are very hard, very resilient," the Pakistan coach said. "You write them off at your peril because they come back hard." With that in mind, Pakistan know what to expect as they aim to account for another No.1 side and Whatmore believes they've had enough time to ready themselves for that.

He attributed Pakistan's success in the first Test to three key things, chief among them being sufficient practice. "We're better prepared against this opposition than we were the last time we played them in South Africa," he said. When Pakistan were white-washed 3-0 earlier in March this year, they had not played a Test for seven months but this time they had matches in Zimbabwe and practice games at home before the series.

With game time under the belts and changes to the squad, Pakistan were better equipped to exploit the 'home' advantage. "Conditions are different and we've had a slight change of personnel. It was a good, competitive effort over the four days."

Mohammad Hafeez's axing is thought to have sparked the change as Pakistan experimented with new openers and enjoyed success. Whatmore praised the selectors but stopped short of using one game to forecast long-term plans.

"Some credit should be given to the selectors, in terms of the ability to see Shan Masood. He is a good batsman, technically, and has a bright future," he said. "That's the thing with bold decisions, sometimes they come off, sometimes not.

"With Khurram, he played a lot of first-class cricket in Pakistan and you need that. Players have to go through a hard grind. He has the benefit of doing that. He came in with a bank of runs behind him and there was every chance he would do well. Now, he has to be consistent. This next match is a test for him but he certainly has the ability."

For Whatmore, Pakistan's win was a demonstration of their potential as a unit, something he knew all along. "I wasn't surprised we did well. Leading up to this series, people in Pakistan were alluding to the loss in Zimbabwe and were saying we didn't have a chance. In my mind that was never the case. I knew we could be competitive. We're better prepared. Conditions are different. We have other players. These things do matter."

And they will matter again when Pakistan take the field on Wednesday hoping to pull off another coup and prompt the decline of another No.1. South Africa's lead at the top of the Test rankings will be cut by 10 points if they lose two-nil (it currently sits at 19), which may be one reason Misbah said he would ask for a "result pitch" in Dubai.

Whatmore, however, said he had given the groundsman "no instructions" on what to do and that he has "prepared the pitch as he always does." Since Pakistan have been forced to make the UAE their home, Dubai has hosted four Tests with only one, against South Africa in 2010, a draw.

In that game, Pakistan had fought back after conceding a first-innings deficit. Misbah had said it felt like a win and Whatmore indicated he wouldn't be unhappy if the same thing happens again.

"I want to win the series. One-nil is just as good as two-nil," Whatmore said. "A hard-fought draw is very important for every team. I won't be upset if we don't win as long as we finish the game well." And that will mean not finishing it the way Sri Lanka did in Kandy.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 22, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Pressure,pressure,pressure---thats what S.A must apply to Pakistan..people tend to forget that S.A actually uncharacteristically fluffed chances-Kallis drop at slip and Steyn bowling the right handed Khurram with a ball that kissed the stumps,flicking the off stick but not dislodging the bail...Christmas wont come again with such gifts as we saw in Pakistan's brief second innings.Big vIctory for S.A

  • on October 22, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    romanticstud plz stop remember this and remember that.....REMEMBER 1 THINK sa is playing against pakistan....and pakistan is unpredictable...if they wANNA loose they can fold upto 40 score and if pakistan wanna win it doesnot matter where ther r playing and which team is they r upto

  • Romanticstud on October 22, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    Remember ... don't count your chickens ... or in this case your wickets ... before they are taken ... A winning test team needs to take 20 wickets ... Pakistan managed that ... but remember South Africa in Australia last year ... battling to draw the second test and then comprehensively outplaying Australia as though it was Australia that battled to draw ... Remember Amla and maybe Steyn might be away ... but the fact is Smith, Petersen, Kallis, Duminy, De Viliers, Du Plessis, still make a great top 6 ... and Philander, Morkel, Peterson, Tahir, Kallis and Duminy , even Du Plessis could bowl for South Africa ... and normally when the best is away the rest up their game ...

  • on October 22, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    He should have told how good is 1-1.

  • Greatest_Game on October 22, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    There is some validity in Whatmore's comments. Going hell-for-leather for a win could expose Pak to a loss. Last year, in Adelaide, Aus were well on top & after a few wickets fell quickly at the start of inns 2, SA were clearly playing for the draw. Aus threw everything they could at SA to try to get the win. SA played them to a standstill, & at the end of the match, to SA it felt like a win, and Aus looked defeated.

    For SA, that draw was as good as a win. SA were on a high, & Aus were stunned, deflated, & had exhausted their players. Their selectors made stupid changes, team cohesion was lost, & SA destroyed them in the last test.

    If Pak overcommit to the win, and a loss results, accusations will be leveled at Misbah & Whatmore, & Pak's team will lose ground.

    As a Saffa I would love to see SA take the next test, but the win would only be sweet if deserved, & not if Pak play themselves into a loss.

    A whitewash sounds great, but a series draw now will be like a loss for Pak.

  • aa61761 on October 21, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    The 3 quick wickets in the 2nd innings of the first test is a sign that Pakistani openers are young and not mature. The target was only 40 runs so the youngsters got carried away, even Misbah was not batting like Misbah in second innings. In second test the openers have to show the responsibility just like in the first innings of the first test. Hopefully Pakistan will be ok. Go Pakistan!

  • on October 21, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    Playing for a draw would eventually hand Pakistan defeat. No matter what Watmore says about Sri Lanka and Kandy, he should not forget this is Pakistan that he's managing. Any other team would have gone out with a stronger mindset with a win against SA and be more aggressive to ensure they do not spoil their advantage.

    I wish Misbah was 10% as aggressive a captain as Shahid Afridi!!!I'm not saying Afridi's aggressive approach is always good...but with Misbah's defensive approach you do need a bit of Afridi at times!!

  • S.Alis on October 21, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    "A hard-fought draw is very important for every team"

    Wow, these are the comments of Pakistani coach about a match which is not even started yet. What a defensive coach, explains why we lost to Zimbabwe. I was a bit unhappy with Ajmal comments earlier but now i completely agree with him. Pakistan need a Pakistani coach with a positive mind, which only think about winning. Playing 5 days match for draw just is the worst thing for Cricket.

  • on October 21, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    Pak need to score 350 plus in their first innings to create a chance for them. Elgar has good technique, he will fill in the gap created by Amla. Steyn should play if SA is looking to win the next test & he will play. Younis needs to get some runs.Sorry Younis but, A double century against Zimbabwe is not enough. Robin Petterson should be dropped, he was below average in the last match.

  • on October 21, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    Attack is best form of defence. Its negative to be happy with 1 nil. No one should try to draw a test before the match has started

  • on October 22, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Pressure,pressure,pressure---thats what S.A must apply to Pakistan..people tend to forget that S.A actually uncharacteristically fluffed chances-Kallis drop at slip and Steyn bowling the right handed Khurram with a ball that kissed the stumps,flicking the off stick but not dislodging the bail...Christmas wont come again with such gifts as we saw in Pakistan's brief second innings.Big vIctory for S.A

  • on October 22, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    romanticstud plz stop remember this and remember that.....REMEMBER 1 THINK sa is playing against pakistan....and pakistan is unpredictable...if they wANNA loose they can fold upto 40 score and if pakistan wanna win it doesnot matter where ther r playing and which team is they r upto

  • Romanticstud on October 22, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    Remember ... don't count your chickens ... or in this case your wickets ... before they are taken ... A winning test team needs to take 20 wickets ... Pakistan managed that ... but remember South Africa in Australia last year ... battling to draw the second test and then comprehensively outplaying Australia as though it was Australia that battled to draw ... Remember Amla and maybe Steyn might be away ... but the fact is Smith, Petersen, Kallis, Duminy, De Viliers, Du Plessis, still make a great top 6 ... and Philander, Morkel, Peterson, Tahir, Kallis and Duminy , even Du Plessis could bowl for South Africa ... and normally when the best is away the rest up their game ...

  • on October 22, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    He should have told how good is 1-1.

  • Greatest_Game on October 22, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    There is some validity in Whatmore's comments. Going hell-for-leather for a win could expose Pak to a loss. Last year, in Adelaide, Aus were well on top & after a few wickets fell quickly at the start of inns 2, SA were clearly playing for the draw. Aus threw everything they could at SA to try to get the win. SA played them to a standstill, & at the end of the match, to SA it felt like a win, and Aus looked defeated.

    For SA, that draw was as good as a win. SA were on a high, & Aus were stunned, deflated, & had exhausted their players. Their selectors made stupid changes, team cohesion was lost, & SA destroyed them in the last test.

    If Pak overcommit to the win, and a loss results, accusations will be leveled at Misbah & Whatmore, & Pak's team will lose ground.

    As a Saffa I would love to see SA take the next test, but the win would only be sweet if deserved, & not if Pak play themselves into a loss.

    A whitewash sounds great, but a series draw now will be like a loss for Pak.

  • aa61761 on October 21, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    The 3 quick wickets in the 2nd innings of the first test is a sign that Pakistani openers are young and not mature. The target was only 40 runs so the youngsters got carried away, even Misbah was not batting like Misbah in second innings. In second test the openers have to show the responsibility just like in the first innings of the first test. Hopefully Pakistan will be ok. Go Pakistan!

  • on October 21, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    Playing for a draw would eventually hand Pakistan defeat. No matter what Watmore says about Sri Lanka and Kandy, he should not forget this is Pakistan that he's managing. Any other team would have gone out with a stronger mindset with a win against SA and be more aggressive to ensure they do not spoil their advantage.

    I wish Misbah was 10% as aggressive a captain as Shahid Afridi!!!I'm not saying Afridi's aggressive approach is always good...but with Misbah's defensive approach you do need a bit of Afridi at times!!

  • S.Alis on October 21, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    "A hard-fought draw is very important for every team"

    Wow, these are the comments of Pakistani coach about a match which is not even started yet. What a defensive coach, explains why we lost to Zimbabwe. I was a bit unhappy with Ajmal comments earlier but now i completely agree with him. Pakistan need a Pakistani coach with a positive mind, which only think about winning. Playing 5 days match for draw just is the worst thing for Cricket.

  • on October 21, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    Pak need to score 350 plus in their first innings to create a chance for them. Elgar has good technique, he will fill in the gap created by Amla. Steyn should play if SA is looking to win the next test & he will play. Younis needs to get some runs.Sorry Younis but, A double century against Zimbabwe is not enough. Robin Petterson should be dropped, he was below average in the last match.

  • on October 21, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    Attack is best form of defence. Its negative to be happy with 1 nil. No one should try to draw a test before the match has started

  • keptalittlelow on October 21, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    What Whatmore is saying makes sense. SA are going to come very hard, and a hard fought draw will be a credible result for Pakistan. Remember last year in the second Test in UAE, Pakistan batting was totally demolished by the English bowlers in the first innings, it was our bowlers who won the game for Pakistan .

  • RyanStephen on October 21, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    It would be a huge waste for them to prepare a flat wicket,, with Amla and possibly Steyn gone, this is prime opportunity to win another test.

  • on October 21, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    he is not saying that pakistan playing for draw. he is saying that if situation goes to that point then they will surely try to save the match. 1st test wicket was a flat one. Dubai is normally not that flat. But Still had something in it for fast bowlers early on. Pakistan need to make more turning wicket to take fast bowlers out of equation.

    The 3 quick wickets in 2nd innings are a warning sign for what can be expected from SA bowlers this time. So we need to understand it.

  • hellothereeveryone on October 21, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    If Pakistan have to win or even draw the second test match they have to come out with a positive frame of mind. Pakistan always play their best cricket when they are in an attacking mode and they dont supress their natural game. Misbah may be the best and most reliable batsman we have but his captaincy is very defensive and leaves a lot to be desired. The best example is the field setting on the 4th (last) day of first test match. With Pakistan in such a commanding position he still had a defensive field with one slip and at least one edge from De veliers went to the 3rd man boundry from where second slip would have been. Also I agree with other comments on this page that although we had a good opening stand Shan Masood was very edgy and will not survive for long on a good pacy track on the other hand Khurram Manzoor appears to be a good find but has to be more consistent.He will make a good opening pair with Ahmed Shehzad or Nasir Jamshed when he gets back in form.

  • Samee0324 on October 21, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    I don't think so winning of a test match is a credit of Watmore!! its a survival for him and also if he wants to renew his contract, must win battle 2nd test

  • on October 21, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    Not sure how match winning openers Khurram Manzoor & Shan Masood will perform in second test after the news that they are axed from the ODI squad.

  • Blueangle on October 21, 2013, 2:03 GMT

    wow wow! this is not a good news for Pakistani fans. Only way to win this series is to go all out and play for a win and hope for a draw. If Pakistan plays with negative frame-of-mind , then they gonna lose the test. Only way to counter Styne, Morkel and Philander is to attack them, otherwise they will rip you apart. IK please, call misbah.........

  • on October 21, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    Mr. Dannymania! I agree that Whatmore isn't making the smartest of comments saying it's ok to win the series one nothing as compared to two nothing, but, I totally disagree with you as far as getting Misbah out of our lives. Learn to give credit where it is due. He is the GEL holding the Pak team right now. Sure some strategies are a bit defensive to an average persons liking but the team is guaranteed to fall apart if you get rid of him. He's a true servant of the country. Btw, in case you didn't know, Misbah was pakistan team's highest run getter when he was axed. Over and out!!

  • on October 20, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    Misbah is the glue Thts has been holding this team together and he has proven his worth game after game!!! I just don't get it, how foolish and ignorant the critics are..of all the people who insult him with TUK TUK Ullah should go look at his towering effortless SIXES and number of runs since he became captain!!! He has nothin to prove, yet he still delivers every freaking game...

  • Chaudry_Cricket on October 20, 2013, 21:31 GMT

    "One nil is just as good as two nil" - that is not good attitude being displayed by Whatmore here he should rally the boys by saying "one nil is good but two nil is better" and challenge green shirts to win the next test ... Our attitude should be to win every game dont matter if we are playing the #1 or #8 side. Positive attitude is a must. We should look to prepare a rank turner to sink the proteas instead of some flat road.

    @Mainul ... Agree with Fawad's case he has been treated very unfairly ... But Shaan does have a good technique if you look at some of his "edges" you will notice he played them late and most importantly with soft hands which tells you that he played them delibratley and he only flased like 2 times man ... Besides he was on debut give him a break.

  • PakFollower on October 20, 2013, 19:03 GMT

    Coach, No doubt both Shan and Manzoor provided the temperament and patience what Pak batting was lacking. But, In general Pakistan cricket team is considered under achiever because lack of professionalism and self believe. Both the games that we lost one in Zimbabwe and one in SA Cape Town could have been easily won. When we lose winnable games critics(mostly all cricket world) slams us with vengeance which put us at the back.

    We have is a very talented team. Coach, we just need self believe to be as resilient as SA. Go Team Pakistan you are the WINNERS and get SA in the 2nd test match also.

  • Dannymania on October 20, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    i am getting a negative vibe from Mr Whatmore when he says that he doesnt mind if pakistan dont win the match.Its definitely a negative thing to say and it makes perfect sense to me as Mibah "The Tuk Tuk" ul haq is the captain.Everyone in the team management now thinks of the game as misbah does, and the only way misbah thinks is defensively.We need this thing thats called Misbah out of our lives, Its as simple as that.

  • likeintcricket on October 20, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    There is no doubt Pakistan can bowl SA out twice but the only concern is their fragile batting and long tail. Pakistan have four good players in Misbah, Younis, Azhar and Asad and if two openers perform again they can post a good score.

  • mainul079080 on October 20, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    Whatmore has nothing to take credit from that win. Mohsin prepared and set the tone of the team which think deteriorated badly in Whatmore era. And to my fear, i predict a SA win in second test as because Masood is not a class player what i saw. So many edges, flashes outside off stump. Azhar and Shafiq are declining day by day(I never thought them to be world class. At best they can do well against mediocre attack on placid wicket). Adnan....well...he is a club player.Nothing more than that.Pakistan's nepotism in team selection is world famous.As a Bangladeshi even, i feel sympathy and empathy for Fawad Alam. Such a wasted super talent.I saw his 168 in debut test against Srilanka. It was fantastic under pressure.And he got only 2 more tests!I invite him to take the citizenship of Bangladesh. And he will get into the BD side immediately by the selector. As there is only one issue in Bangladesh team selection-i.e performance

  • Stark62 on October 20, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    That's a negative mindset but in this case, I agree with him and I wouldn't mind Pak preparing the flattest pitch through out history. After all, that's what SA was expecting, so why not grant their wish for the next match?!?!

  • wrenx on October 20, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    That attitude is a good way to guarantee it will be 1-1. These don't look like draw pitches Dav

  • Ajmal_raja on October 20, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    pakistan needs to focus....its our batting which is gonna decide the match because our bowling always comes up with good results...if our batsmen do what they did in last match 2-0 is not a far off result

  • on October 20, 2013, 15:12 GMT

    I don't think Dav Whatmore was coaching Sri Lanka in 2000. He left them after the 1996 World Cup.

  • on October 20, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    Great win for pakistan but now I hope Pakistan can win the series :-)

  • on October 20, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    well done team Pakistan, hope to see a series win against no.1 team inshaALLAH

  • on October 20, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    well done boys keep it up, we Pakistanis in US are very proud you.

  • on October 20, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    It will be more character involved game,Pakistan is more positive and focus on result oriented pitch in Dubai?other side South Africa is too dependent on Hashim Amla , because they don't have much confidence on other players,Ahmed Shahzad should get chance,good luck Dave good luck Pakistan.

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  • on October 20, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    It will be more character involved game,Pakistan is more positive and focus on result oriented pitch in Dubai?other side South Africa is too dependent on Hashim Amla , because they don't have much confidence on other players,Ahmed Shahzad should get chance,good luck Dave good luck Pakistan.

  • on October 20, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    well done boys keep it up, we Pakistanis in US are very proud you.

  • on October 20, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    well done team Pakistan, hope to see a series win against no.1 team inshaALLAH

  • on October 20, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    Great win for pakistan but now I hope Pakistan can win the series :-)

  • on October 20, 2013, 15:12 GMT

    I don't think Dav Whatmore was coaching Sri Lanka in 2000. He left them after the 1996 World Cup.

  • Ajmal_raja on October 20, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    pakistan needs to focus....its our batting which is gonna decide the match because our bowling always comes up with good results...if our batsmen do what they did in last match 2-0 is not a far off result

  • wrenx on October 20, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    That attitude is a good way to guarantee it will be 1-1. These don't look like draw pitches Dav

  • Stark62 on October 20, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    That's a negative mindset but in this case, I agree with him and I wouldn't mind Pak preparing the flattest pitch through out history. After all, that's what SA was expecting, so why not grant their wish for the next match?!?!

  • mainul079080 on October 20, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    Whatmore has nothing to take credit from that win. Mohsin prepared and set the tone of the team which think deteriorated badly in Whatmore era. And to my fear, i predict a SA win in second test as because Masood is not a class player what i saw. So many edges, flashes outside off stump. Azhar and Shafiq are declining day by day(I never thought them to be world class. At best they can do well against mediocre attack on placid wicket). Adnan....well...he is a club player.Nothing more than that.Pakistan's nepotism in team selection is world famous.As a Bangladeshi even, i feel sympathy and empathy for Fawad Alam. Such a wasted super talent.I saw his 168 in debut test against Srilanka. It was fantastic under pressure.And he got only 2 more tests!I invite him to take the citizenship of Bangladesh. And he will get into the BD side immediately by the selector. As there is only one issue in Bangladesh team selection-i.e performance

  • likeintcricket on October 20, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    There is no doubt Pakistan can bowl SA out twice but the only concern is their fragile batting and long tail. Pakistan have four good players in Misbah, Younis, Azhar and Asad and if two openers perform again they can post a good score.