Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi, 4th day January 3, 2014

Mohammad Akram backs Pakistan bowlers after tough day


Mohammad Akram, the Pakistan bowling coach, said he was pleased with the efforts of his bowlers in spite of their performance on the fourth day against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi. Pakistan managed to take just one wicket in the entire day as Sri Lanka scored 420 for 5, stretching their overnight lead of seven runs to 241 by close of play.

"The bowlers did well and gave their 100%," Akram told the media. "Both Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal batted so well. We understand that the pitch still is a good Test wicket to play on and if batsmen persist, they can score well. Our bowlers tried their best and I couldn't ask for more."

Pakistan's bowlers bowled 86.3 overs and had only the wicket of Dinesh Chandimal to show for their efforts. The side used five bowlers and except for Bilawal Bhatti, none of the others conceded runs at more than three an over. Chandimal and Mathews, and later Prasanna Jayawardene, batted sensibly to keep Pakistan at bay. One of the few chances that Pakistan got came in the second over after lunch, when Dinesh Chandimal's edge off Bhatti's bowling flew close to Ahmed Shehzad at second slip.

Akram felt that the bowlers did exactly what was required of them, but said that it was unfortunate Pakistan hadn't managed to get wickets early in the first session.

"We bowled well in every session and each bowler played his part in the partnership, containing runs from one end and attacking from the other," Akram said. "So, on such sort of pitches, we did exactly what was required. We wanted to take quick wickets in the first session but unfortunately we didn't get the edges and chances."

Akram also stressed that the pitch offered no support for the bowlers: "Last-day pitches are normally deterrents (for the batsmen), but I don't see anything for the bowlers, and batsman can still score runs. I didn't see any sign of spin even at the end of the day's play, so if Ajmal didn't get spin here then nobody can. The ball might be skidding a bit, but it is not spinning at all."

Sri Lanka have a lead of 241 over Pakistan and the latter have chased a higher target only three times in Tests. For Akram, the first session will decide the state of play on the final day.

If we can get them all out or they declare their inning in the first session, there is a possibility," Akram said. "Batting on the final day is always tough but we have batsmen who have recently scored well in ODIs and can get the runs here, too."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vinod on January 4, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    Ideal for Cricket: Lankans should Bat 8 overs, score 40 and hand over a target of 280 in 80 overs. People who say that Pakistan can play in ODI mode to chase 300 is a big joke. They need to understand difference between ODI and Tests. In ODI you have no option and you may chase 300 in 60 overs though being 30-3. But in case you lose a couple of wickets in Test, you generally play it safe. To add to it, we all know that Misbah is a defensive Captain.

  • Yohan on January 4, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    @ Imitiyaz bhat & others who doubt SL tactics - SL were down and out in this game so the efforts of Angi and rest brought it to this stage . So SL s point of views they dont want to give any sniff to Pak at this moment . If SL bowled out yest evening for lead of 275 , they would hand this match over to Pak as there is nothing much for bowlers nd also SL bowling is not good either . so they want to play safe here .it Pakista who need to try anyway as this is their game . i think you remeber how South africa reacted in a game vs India .

  • MOHAMMED on January 4, 2014, 2:45 GMT

    Pakistan will crumble under pressure and hand SL, a test win. SL playing test after 9 months were far superior than Pakistan. Over confidence did damage to Pak bowlers. Now every SL batsman is in good form and if bowlers can get into form, then SL will easily win this series, because Pak batsman are all out of form except Misbah and Younis.

  • Azfar on January 4, 2014, 0:02 GMT

    If Pakistani bowlers are not getting wickets on this track then Sri Lankan bowlers have less chances of taking wickets. A target of less then 300 is dangerous for Sri Lanka, even though Pakistani batsmen are capable of getting themselves out but stil less then 5 hours is not enough to get Pakistan out. Sri Lanka does not have a great attack and the wicket is not supporting bowlers, so this match is as good as a tame draw.

  • Dummy4 on January 3, 2014, 21:42 GMT

    Poor game plan from lankans. They could have gone for the runs in last session. They themselves dont know whether to go for draw or win.

    Joke they are just drawing the same.

  • ubaid on January 3, 2014, 20:46 GMT

    I used to be a fan of Akram when he played. He couldn't play many games for Pakistan as we had better bowlers in those days but I am sorry to say he is not a good bowling coach. Bilawal Bhatti has been bowling the same length that he was when he started and Akram hasn't done anything to correct it. Rahat Ali has got to be someone's blue eyed boy to still be in the team. Should have selected Shinwari.

  • Saleem on January 3, 2014, 20:43 GMT

    So why didn't the select Umar Gul and had a 3rd rate bowler Rehat. I was stunned to see his running during fielding...

  • Dummy4 on January 3, 2014, 20:33 GMT

    As said by Akram that the ball will not gonna spin it would be straight so it means here there is start of danger from Rangna Herath & co for pakistan as Rangna will give more air to the ball tempting the batsmen to play forward & create chances for bat-pads or clean-bowleds,& poor Pak batsmen who often forget how to bat on even simple of batting pitches like this one, let they bat, battle of weak but mentally tough srilankan bowlers vs apparently strong but mentally weak Pakistan batsmen

  • Cricinfouser on January 3, 2014, 20:24 GMT

    @ Bilal Mian, Spot on mate...

  • Dummy4 on January 3, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    Zahidsaltin .... When rameez raja said Pakistan has the best bowling attack he meant Junaid, irfan, gul and ajmal. Some other posters have posted without thinking, the wicket has got easier everyday for batting and today was the worst day for bowlers no swing no seam no SPIN ! Sri lankans have only taken advantage of the batting conditions. Some people above have said we will collapse on day five which is a bug joke. This wicket right now is a paradise to bat on and the only way someone can collapse is through continuous stupid shots. Khurram manzor and ahmed shezhad are not rabbits with bat and will look forward in scoring runs as well hafeez despite being a mediocre batsman in tests.

    When there is no spin on day four there would'nt be any on day five. I am sorry but herath is finally dominated by pakistan. Pakistan has to decide do they want to chase 250-320 approx or do they want to play for draw. If they get more then two sessions to bat tommorow then they can play to win ODI MODE

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