Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Lahore February 27, 2009

Intikhab satisified with pitch for second Test

Cricinfo staff

"Nowadays, with one-day cricket being played so often, people expect a result in five-day matches with 90 overs being played a day" © AFP

Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam says he is pleased with the pitch for the second Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, starting Sunday at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. "The wicket is firm and looks good to me," he said. "We want a pitch that helps fast bowlers on the first day and benefits the spinners in the second innings, with the ball coming on to the bat. Nowadays, with one-day cricket being played so often, people expect a result in five-day matches with 90 overs being played a day."

Intikhab was among the many critics of the pitch during the drawn first Test, which witnessed a run-fest with four-and-a-half dreary days dominated by the bat. It was tough going for the bowlers on the docile track at the National Stadium in Karachi as Sri Lanka, batting first, scored 644 with Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera posting double-centuries. Pakistan's reply was equally weighty, with Younis Khan hitting 313 and Kamran Akmal scoring an unbeaten 158 before they declared on 765 for 6.

Intikhab refused to be drawn into further comments about the Karachi Test and hoped the Lahore wicket would be similar to those used for the one-dayers. "We always have a positive approach. I don't want to comment more on the Karachi wicket. It was a challenge for every player. If we played like the way we did in Karachi, with every player taking on the pressure, it will be a good match."

He believed the positives from the first Test would spur the players to winning the two-Test series, having lost the ODI series 1-2. He said the leadership of the new captain Younis Khan in the first match gave his side the momentum.

"We will try to win this Test match," Intikhab said. "The comeback in the last match showed we have a lot of character and courage, especially the way the captain batted. There was a plan that was well-executed and every player took up the responsibility. It was a great achievement and towards the finish, we took five wickets in the second innings on the flat track.

"The credit goes to all the players, especially Younis. His triple hundred was a fantastic performance. He is a positive and committed man, and we needed such a captain who is enthusiastic and leads from the front. And the way he led, with commitment, is very good for the team."