'We need to raise our fielding standards' - Bennett King
Bennett King, the West Indies coach, said his side had only themselves to blame for not forcing a result during the second Test at Multan. Mohammad Yousuf and Abdul Razzaq eventually steered Pakistan to safety on the final day, after they began their second innings 234 runs behind but it might have been different had Yousuf not been dropped at second slip when on 108. He went on to make 191.
King told reporters at the National Stadium in Karachi, ahead of the final Test, "We certainly had our opportunities and were in a strong position, I wouldn't say it was disappointing but we only have ourselves to blame for the result and we need to raise our fielding standards. Certainly the half chances we have to make sure we take them. On these types of wickets you don't get a lot of opportunities so when they come your way you need to make sure you take them."
Yousuf has been a regular beneficiary of West Indian lapses through the series, being dropped four times in three innings. He has 439 runs in the series so far. "I think our bowling has been not too bad overall but we haven't taken our opportunities. We dropped him on 40-odd in the first Test and let him off the hook in the second Test as well. He is certainly a good player and in form and we will certainly take care this time. If we take our opportunities we can be in a strong position again."
The Multan pitch was criticised by seemingly anyone who came within a mile of it, but particularly so by both captains and Danish Kaneria. It overlooked the fact that this was the first drawn Test from five matches on a traditionally high-scoring ground and King at least was happy that his bowlers managed to create enough chances from the surface.
"I think the pitch we just played on, we created enough opportunities and went past the bat enough to get edges. Collymore bowled exceptionally well and had people edged the ball instead of missing it as often as they did the result would have been different," King said.
He added, "I certainly think we extracted as much as we can out of the wickets and we have to make sure we maintain our line and disciplines and not just get frustrated that we are beating the bat or catches are going down."
More help should be on offer in Karachi. The last two Tests here have produced outstanding cricket, where bowlers and batsmen have tussled evenly. As ever, there is grass now, though whether it will be as plentiful in two days' time is uncertain. King said, "There is grass but we expect that it will be taken off in a couple of days. It looks like a pretty good batting track, slow, but probably taking spin as it goes along."
His side has been on the road for some time now, ever since the DLF cup in Malaysia in September but that hasn't led to a tailing off in performances, a trait that has pleased King. "We are very determined. We have been on the road for three months and the boys played some of the best cricket on the fifth day when most sides would probably start to feel the effects of a long tour. But these boys have shown mental fortitude and I am very encouraged by the performance of the last game. We expect to go from strength to strength."