Whatmore 'very frustrated' with batting mistakes
Pakistan are likely to receive an Alex Ferguson-style hairdryer treatment from their coach Dav Whatmore, who admitted it was "very frustrating" to see his team go from dominating in Abu Dhabi to being dominated in Dubai. Whatmore said he would apply tough love with minimal sympathy because he held his charges responsible for their own downfall.
"It wasn't according to plan. We expected the opposition to come back strong but I don't think they did. We orchestrated most of our dismissals ourselves," Whatmore said. "I am trying to get a reason for it, whether its complacency or whether they thought they could carry on from 400 runs where they left off."
When asked whether he would admonish them, Whatmore was frank. "You need to do what you need to do and they have to allow me to do that. When it's time to be firm, you have to do that. They're expecting that. We will be having a little talk. We need to get it off our chests."
Special words will be reserved for Shan Masood and Azhar Ali, who made small starts and before being dismissed. "I am pretty angry with those two. You can't spend time and get a foundation and then get out when they did," Whatmore said.
Ali was out lbw, playing across the line to Morne Morkel to extend a lean run that has stretched from the Zimbabwe tour. Masood, who appeared to have settled in nicely after an hour of watchful batting, became Imran Tahir's first victim. He was the "lucky" wicket, as Whatmore called it, bowled off the inside edge after being drawn forward by the legspinner and the wicket sparked Tahir's five-for.
Although there was some turn in the surface as early as day one, Whatmore believed Pakistan flattered Tahir to some extent. "We played against him in a practice match in Kimberley earlier this year where he picked up wickets but he also got knocked around a bit," Whatmore said. "He did bowl pretty well. His first wicket was lucky and then he went on from there. We need to improve second time round."
Before Pakistan can even consider batting again, they need to fight their way back into the match by dismissing the rest of South Africa's line-up cheaply. Whatmore believes it can be done but only if Pakistan show more discipline. "We really need to pull the proverbial out to get back into this match," he said. "We still have to get another seven wickets. If we can do that in a reasonable time, then we will hopefully be able to bat at some point tomorrow. And then we need to bat and bat and bat."
Instead of identifying a score for Pakistan to bowl South Africa out for, Whatmore is thinking about the kind of lead they need to have to set South Africa a second-innings target. "[A score of]150 came into my mind. But I am not sure. We will know a bit more tomorrow," he said.
Recent history suggests Pakistan may need a bigger lead. After being bowled out for 99 by England in February last year, Pakistan went on to win the match by dismissing their opposition for 141 and then scoring 365 in their second innings. England had to chase 324 and fell 71 runs short, with Pakistan's spinners sharing six wickets between them in the second innings.
Whatmore is using that win as inspiration but South Africa are 29 ahead with plenty of batting to come. He knows the spinners will need something substantial to work: "It will be nice to have a reasonable bank of runs. Then the plan is for the spinners to come in."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent