Pakistan v West Indies, 3rd Test, Sharjah, 5th day November 3, 2016

'We went on making mistakes' - Misbah

Misbah-ul-Haq has said a lack of regulars in the slips has not helped Pakistan © AFP

Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has said that his team "went on making mistakes" that led them to miss out on a chance to remain unbeaten against the visitors. They had whitewashed them in the ODIs and T20Is and won the first two Tests, before being upset in the third Test in Sharjah.

Pakistan put up only 281 in their first innings. Four players made half-centuries but none of them got past 74 and scored a hundred. In the second innings, they lost four of their top five batsmen before the deficit of 56 could be erased.

Then, having recovered with the help of Azhar Ali's 91, Pakistan lost their last five wickets for 33 runs and could only set a target of 153. West Indies won the match with five wickets and more than two sessions to spare.

"It was disappointing that we didn't win," Misbah said. "Overall, we didn't play up to our standards. Our batting was bad, and so was our fielding.

"West Indies played with discipline and we went on making mistakes and lost it. It's a setback losing a Test match in your own conditions, where you are so good, and to a team ranked lower than us. No matter how good the opposition plays, you really need to come back strongly after that."

After the fourth day's play, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur had felt his team was fatigued and that was why they weren't as good as they could have been. Misbah, though, put the loss down to complacency.

"We have one thing in mind - to treat every game as equally important," he said. "When you are the No. 1 or No. 2 team, you have to play every match at a certain standard to keep that reputation.

"When you have a longish series, sometimes, you [tend to] relax and I think this is exactly what happened with us. We probably didn't respect the opposition, which is why we were troubled in early matches and made a lot of mitakes in this third Test.

"However, going into the next two series [in New Zealand and Australia] we know how tough things will be. We also know that we are capable [of winning], and when we play at our full potential we can win matches anywhere in the world. We have lost some momentum with this loss, but we have to regain it and work very hard for it."

One of the opportunities Pakistan had to take control in Sharjah was when the chase began. Despite the smallish target, West Indies appeared nervous. Opener Leon Johnson began his innings by edging twice to the slip cordon in two overs. Both were put down. Misbah said such sloppiness was the result of a lack of specialists.

"As far as the slip cordon is concerned, unfortunately, we have to make some changes to it. Only Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq are regulars. Azhar was hit on the hand so he couldn't field in the slips," Misbah said. "We are trying to train specialist slip fielders. Only when you have specialist fielders will you see improvement. So we are focusing on that."

Misbah-ul-Haq has asked the critics for some patience with respect to allrounder Mohammad Nawaz's role in the team © AFP

Misbah didn't appreciate the flak his team received on social media. "At times, we read on Twitter that a slip catch is a sitter. Only someone who has not played cricket can say that. Slip catches are never easy, even the best slip fielders drop catches."

The other issue Pakistan have is the balance of their XI. They are keen to have an allrounder at No. 7, which was why they had drafted Mohammad Nawaz into the squad. But the left-arm spinner bowled only 15 overs in Sharjah, and didn't impress with the bat, even though he was involved in a 41-run stand for the sixth wicket with Azhar.

"Its Nawaz's first series so he needs time," Misbah said "We need someone at No. 7 who can bat and bowl, and he has the potential to fill that role for us like Jason Holder does for West Indies. He works very hard, he just needs some time."

It was learnt that a day before the third Test, Pakistan were set to go in without their frontline left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar. But the team management changed its mind before the toss. Zulfiqar was used for 24 overs in the match, but only three of them came in the second innings. When asked why he was under-bowled, Misbah took aim at the surface in Sharjah.

"Take the answer from the groundsman who made the pitch. If the ball doesn't turn even on the fifth day, then how will you bowl spinners?"

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

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