Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sharjah, 3rd day January 18, 2014

Shehzad unhappy with Sri Lanka's 'negative' approach


Pakistan might have been conservative with their batting approach on the third day in Sharjah, but their opener Ahmed Shehzad said he was "surprised" by the negative approach adopted by the Sri Lanka bowlers. He stated that the opposition got "afraid" and looked insecure despite having a hefty total on the board.

"I was surprised with their negative approach," Shehzad said. "Although they had 400-plus runs on the board, they had packed the leg side. But yes there are some captains who are aggressive and then there are some who are defensive."

Almost throughout the day, Sri Lanka had six fielders on the leg side, letting Pakistan score only 23 runs in the first hour of play.  

Pakistan still trail by 137 runs with four wickets in hand after what was a lengthy and toiling day for scoring runs. They might have shelved their plan to maintain a run rate of around three but still have a lot to do to think of a win. They crawled for most parts of the day and played with caution in the first two sessions but the final session saw fearless attacking as they piled up 122 runs in 31.3 overs.

"It's Test cricket," Shehzad said when asked about what took him so long to play his natural game. "Whatever the conditions are, you have to play according to that. We were just playing normal cricket, that's it. To build any kind of score it's very important to negotiate the new ball and do well with that. So that was our first plan and to score some runs as well, so yes we did well."

Pakistan lost four of their batsmen to edges behind the stumps. Azhar Ali took a bizarre review, even though he had edged a ball to slips, only to be struck down and Pakistan continued to struggle with their calls on DRS as day three saw all their reviews being unsuccessful.

Sri Lanka are already up 1-0 in the series and they adopted a safety-first approach. Rangana Herath frustrated the batsmen by bowling outside the leg stump with Shehzad facing 85 balls against him and scoring 37 from them. He negotiated well during his hundred but lost his patience and played an unorthodox reverse sweep to edge the ball onto his stumps.

"It was a tough time [in the end], I was trying to accelerate when my wicket fell," Shehzad said. "I was set and was seeing the ball well and tried to keep the scoreboard going, my wicket fell at a very difficult time. I think I should have stayed and scored more runs for the team. Had I not been dismissed, we would not have lost three wickets at a time which is difficult for any batsman.

"We had to move the scoreboard, we had no other choice. We had lost one match, it's a do-or-die match for us. But they can't bowl us out with negative bowling in a proper Test match, it's not possible. They were afraid after lunch that we would go after their bowling."

Along with the acceleration, Pakistan lost four wickets in the final session. Shehzad said he was not very optimistic about the result of the match. "The captain is playing and I hope he knows better than me," he said. "I think we should play two more sessions and equal their score, that's the present target. I think we will play normal cricket and we will try to come back into the match and then go for a result."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JuggerNAuts on January 21, 2014, 12:50 GMT

    to all sl fans with deep sympathy i will love to have a feed back about ur imba tuc tuc strategy now when match is over

  • ESPN on January 20, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    In hindsight, Lanka should have taken Shehzad's views to heart.

  • ESPN on January 20, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    @ Sri Lankan friends: plz be calm. Shehzad is not trying to teach Sri Lanka strategy here. i am sure Sri Lanka is pretty self sufficient, but you got to give the poor guy the right to express his thoughts at least. we need not to fight amongst ourselves specially when THE BIG THREE are trying to take over ICC. fans of the sport need to unite against the 3 board chiefs.

    oh and btw @Ranuka do u like the "response" NOW :P :P

  • Dummy4 on January 20, 2014, 5:46 GMT

    hahaha!! Waqar thats funny.. If your team is good enough why didn't they bat so well? LOL! Different teams have different strategies, and the other team has to play accordingly. But what has happened here is PAK has failed to respond Sri Lanka's strategy. This is test cricket. Its all about avoiding defeat.

  • Android on January 19, 2014, 19:28 GMT

    ahehzad out by fault shot selection

  • Android on January 19, 2014, 19:24 GMT

    shehzad got to learn more from this tour he just play 2 matches and teaching others who played more then 100test like miahbah. this part of trick

  • Joseph on January 19, 2014, 15:13 GMT

    Shehzad is trying to say, "My hundred save the game for Pakistan". When he got to know it's not going to happen he is just shouting........... like in 2nd ODI he scored a hundred but Pakistan lost it.

  • Dummy on January 19, 2014, 14:10 GMT

    This is not a war but a game for entertainment why do we play in middle and have spectators around ? End of the day spectators should be happy tht they spent time for a worthy cause .this attitude is killing cricket even with a positive approach eiether side could have. Won or gone for a draw wt matters is entertainment fun and play an exciting game .may be looking at the empty stadium the approach can be justified all are playing for personnel gains and to keep their place .even a war is not fought in this way .

  • Dummy4 on January 19, 2014, 11:07 GMT

    we can manage our tactics u better focus on ur team and ur batting Sri Lanka is good enough to destroy u. Pakistan couldn't surpass our 1st innings also.shazad is still dreaming and boasting about things, go home............

  • Nilantha on January 19, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    well Mr Shehzad, dont worry about our tactics, quite simply as i commented before this match, our aim is to avoid losing this match and taking the series. this inlcudes batting time and playing for a draw as the end justifies the cannot think that we will play the game to suit the opposition surely?that would just be silly..

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