South Africa v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Centurion

'We need to post big totals each game' - Misbah

Firdose Moonda in Centurion

February 21, 2013

Comments: 36 | Text size: A | A

Misbah-ul-Haq watches the ball closely, South Africa v Pakistan, 1st Test, Johannesburg, 2nd day, February 2, 2013
Misbah wants to see his side post big totals on a regular basis, if they are to win games more consistently © Associated Press

Exactly a month ago, Misbah-ul-Haq addressed the South African media for the first time. There were a few rays of sunshine in his voice. He made eye contact with the home journalists, and appeared genuinely convinced that his side could achieve something special.

Two Tests matches have passed since then. Pakistan have lost both, and the little sense of humour Misbah had, has gone with it. At his pre-match press conference, ahead of the Centurion Test, he spoke in ice blocks. His eyes were fixed on a point in the distance, and his tone defeated.

The reason for the turnaround is obvious, but the seriousness of it is not. This is not his first series loss. He was in charge when they were beaten by Sri Lanka, although he did not play the match they were beaten in because he was suspended for a slow over-rate.

But this is Pakistan's second series loss in succession, and it is the most number of consecutive Test defeats that Misbah has led his side in. There is no shame in losing to the No.1 ranked Test team, and there is even less in going down to them in their own conditions, which are also widely acknowledged as the most difficult to bat in.

That Misbah is so unhappy illustrates the disappointment that comes when expectations aren't met. His team has another chance to live up to those expectations, and he was clear about what they need to do. "We need to improve our batting. We need some consistency," Misbah said. "It's not about one innings in Test cricket. You have to post big totals in every innings."

Pakistan's biggest challenge is facing the new ball, and that may not ease on a seamer's pitch in Centurion. With the quick turnaround between Tests, there has not been much time to work on that skill, and Misbah was resigned in his assessment of how they will front up to it this time. "Everybody is trying and working hard to cope with the new ball, especially in the first 10 overs. We can only hope they will get better."

Perhaps it's something that can be shelved as a real concern because it is unlikely to trouble Pakistan until they tour South Africa again. Misbah noted that it is the only place his team have struggled this much to adapt. "These pitches have more pace and bounce whereas all over the world wickets are getting slower. Even in Australia nowadays. So it's a matter of spending time and playing more cricket here. Lack of experience and lack of playing Test cricket is why we collapsed in the other matches. Once you play on a regular basis, you get better and better."

But the reverse applies as well. Pakistan's bowling attack may not enjoy conditions elsewhere as much as they have in South Africa. With an attack that is as promising as it is potent, Graeme Smith believes Misbah has reason to be a little cheerful. "They are a much better team than what the results showed, especially because their bowling attack is really good," Smith said. "With the seamers and Saeed Ajmal, it can be quite challenging."

For that reason, Smith is looking at the Centurion Test as a way for South Africa's batsman to spend more time sizing up the Pakistan pack, before the return leg of the tour in October. Misbah is not even thinking that far. He only wants a positive result in this match so that he can take something out of the series, something that he can look back on with some satisfaction.

"You have to get teams out twice, not get them out once, take an advantage and then let it slip. Everybody knows the importance of every game, and every team wants to win each game. It's not about [winning] series all the the games." Compartmentalising the Centurion Test is the best way for Pakistan to defrost the chill from Misbah's voice.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Faridmalek on (February 22, 2013, 13:14 GMT)

I think misbah should look at his own batting...... Lol

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 5:52 GMT)

Pak team definitely needs changes to stay competitive against teams like SA. I'm referring to major changes that should've happend already.. Get ride of Misbah & Yunis they wount get better but worst by game & their time has gone, there is no future.. investing in them is a waste of time & lost chance for new players. We need to groom new batsmen. Hafiz has always been average and will always stay that way.. So we should stop complaining.. he's the best option we got. We haven't found any batsmen wicket keeper for over a decade now so w'll always be short by a batsman. I see positives in Jamehed (i can bet u, he will prove it in this game), Junaid, Shafiq, 7fter. We need to give chances to new/young player, please guys don't talk about returning player. plzzz NOOo Imran Farhat, Imran nazir, shoaib Malik (garbage), Tofeeq Umar...etc Good luck Pak team! & watch out for Jamshed..

Posted by ak_dragon on (February 22, 2013, 5:24 GMT)

Well...Misbah is one of the selfish cricketer ever produced by Pakistan Cricket !

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 3:42 GMT)

I think if the Pakistani batsmen learn how to survive the morning session and the new ball, they have a chance. Best of luck Pakistan.

Posted by Resultpredictor on (February 22, 2013, 3:25 GMT)

Well Pakistan cannot win this test as they dont have quality batsman who can bat two sessions, they dont have aggressive batsman like Robin Pieterson and they dont have even good medium pacers. How can this mediocre team win a test. So Pakistan is going to lose this test also. SA will complete whitewash. Congrats SA for series whitewash.

Posted by psu19976 on (February 22, 2013, 2:26 GMT)

drop hafaeez pleeease!!!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 1:25 GMT)

I don't understand why Umar Akmal is being ignored. He scores runs and I am pretty sure he could have batted better than Azhar Ali. Azhar Ali scores 20-30 odd runs after every 4-6 innings just to keep his spot in the team but at the same time it takes him over 100 deliveries which is hurting us the most. He puts pressure on other batsmen.

Posted by CanGrit on (February 22, 2013, 0:55 GMT)

Some ppl here talking about Imran Farhat.. I can't believe this, this guy is useless how many chances he got?? Look at his average..disgusting!! They should persist with the young team just bring back Umar Akmal too..he is a a great talent..Nasir Jamshed is a good talent as well. Can't wait for Mohammed Amir to make a come back..Pakistan have good future they just gotta to stick to it and they should manage the young guns properly..Misbah leading a young team would definitely work....

Posted by YoBro on (February 21, 2013, 23:02 GMT)

I couldn't believe it when I checked out Misbah's stats and found he only has 3 hundreds, but at a healthy average of 44+. No doubt he has improved in leaps and bounds since he first entered the Test scene. He's a very reliable and consistent batsman himself - I'd have him batting for my life any day. Hope Pak win the 3rd Test.

Posted by likeintcricket on (February 21, 2013, 22:57 GMT)

Imran farhat is not an ideal choice but Hafiz can't play the swing. Why not send Hafiz lower down and send Misbah or younis as an opener or just drop Hafiz for Imran. Hafiz didn't take any part in the 2nd One day. Though it is a fast wicket but still I want Rehman to be in for Tanvir and Junaid for Umer Gul. Umer Gul is suppose to be spearhead but he is most disappointing. I have not seen the third rookies Ehsan Adil but if he is faster than Gul than they can give him a try. SA are a good side but certainly not unbeatable and they know it. They will come to UAE and they have to play against Ajmal and Rehman. Their bowlers (specially) Philander won't be that effective on those pitches.

Posted by omar_choudhary on (February 21, 2013, 22:45 GMT)

Misbah, as much as I admire you as a successful captain to get Pakistan through their tough times, I must say this: ACTIONS speak louder than words. What I have seen from Misbah this whole series is that he is saying we need to bat better, we need to field like that blah blah. Stop whining and JUST DO IT (Nike Catchphrase, no copy right issues...) Come on PAK win this last test.

Posted by IAS2009 on (February 21, 2013, 22:16 GMT)

there are many low score in SA lately team including Aussies were bowled out for very low score. Playing is SA is always difficult for most teams and with current SA it is very hard to beat them in test matches look at SA batting line up JK have more runs then whole pakistan combined team. so it is not only to bowl that batting lineup twice it is also to survive the their Fast bowlers, sad part for Pakistan is they came very close beating SA in 2nd test. poor captaincy and team selection. twice they let SA get away, once 3rd morning and then 3rd session on third day. Misbah and Azhar slow batting cause the 60 runs they did not score could be the difference in the game, every one new what will happen when new ball will do next morning. Pakistan need a aggressive captain, selection tanveer was based on more batting option than AR in the end 120 kph will not take wickets, he could not contain and kep pressure either. it is defensive captaincy, weak teams have to aggressive to win.

Posted by Omer.Iftikhar on (February 21, 2013, 18:34 GMT)

Well, we have been consistent with the bat this series, it's just that we have been consistently poor. The blame for this I would put squarely on the back of the team management (i.e. coach and captain) as it is due only to a lack of preparation. You know that you will be playing against the No. 1 team in the world, famed for it's fast bowling, in conditions that are ideal for them, and you arrange just ONE practice match on a flat, dead track? What were they thinking? The openers have proved pathetic in this regard, which has led to Azhar Ali and Younis Khan having to play like openers anyway. Nothing can now be gained from the third test apart from some experience for the younger players. To this end I suggest Farhat opens with Jamshed and Adil plays along with Junaid, Rehman and Ajmal. However, I doubt the captain and coach have the foresight in this regard.

Posted by Desihungama on (February 21, 2013, 17:42 GMT)

Well then may be you should have said something to this point when PCB was busy organizing the useless tour to India just to appease them. Playing eleven is captain's discretion so my friend you should take the responsibility for our failures and start thinking out of the box sometimes like shuffling batting order just a bit?

Posted by king78787 on (February 21, 2013, 16:44 GMT)

only way for pakistan to win: find openrs that can STAY IN. Hafeez is only in the side due to his offspin and jamshed is a replacement. Drop jamshed for imran fahrat and make this hafeez last chance

Posted by AB_DeVilliers on (February 21, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

As a Saffer supporter, I like this Pak team, as they represent a challenge to us even in our own conditions. I'm of the opinion that a single selection error cost them the game in Cape Town. Had AbdurRehman been picked instead of Tanvir (even though it would have seemed like a gamble), they would have beaten SA. Love Younis Khan's batting and attitude. Hafeez has disappointed me as I expected more from him seeing that it's his 2nd time in SA. All in all, good contest, and look forward to a good match this weekend. Give us a challenge Pak, pls. Shukr

Posted by fareeds28 on (February 21, 2013, 15:36 GMT)

Remove Sarfaraz add some one who can bat a bit

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 15:23 GMT)

well pakistan only had a solid chance to win test this time and they missed. in 3rd odds are against them. 1i think its not only batting that failed, its the bowling as well. seamers havent done anything special or even good. specially in 2nd test. no support to ajmal. in both tests Pak had 1 weak link that is rahat and tanveer. gul was also inconsistent as always. batting was expected to be bad here but bowling disappointed more. and top of that we send a keeper who doesnot look like a no 10 batsman.

Plenty to play for tomorrow but i would say to play ehsan adil instead of gul.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 14:16 GMT)

My advice to Hafeez, Nasir and Younus is: Do not dangle your bat beyond imaginary fourth wicket outside off. This must go on for 10 overs. Loose balls should be dispatched to areas where fielders have less probability of catching in case of a mishit. Lofty drives in safe cover areas, whenever feasible, would keep the score moving. Fast deliveries off the seam normally move well far away. Habit should be developed to avoid following the outgoing ball.

That will save pakistani wickets, later to be used during fast scoring.

Posted by gsingh7 on (February 21, 2013, 14:11 GMT)

a team that got all out for 49 cannot post 300 in each innings. they cud not even manage 50 in first innings, also pak have little interest in this dead rubber as series is lost already and they failed on overseas conditions. pak batting is one of worst of all test playing nations on par with sl or bangladesh. hope they improve but i can see a green top in 3rd test.

Posted by PAKCOP on (February 21, 2013, 14:06 GMT)

Their is no Shame in Loosing to a Number 1 Team. Pak gave them tough time in 2nd Test.

Posted by ABLcric on (February 21, 2013, 13:55 GMT)

In Test match bowling ranking, both Steyn and Philander are number 1 and 2 followed by Saeed 'the magician". What do we expect from our batsmen when they are tested by the worlds best in their own courtyard. Middle order is getting back slowly but inconsistent. Openers are struggling. Lets hope that we get better start this time. Good Luck Pakistan!!

Posted by wakaPAK on (February 21, 2013, 13:47 GMT)

Pakistan had a chance in the last match. I dont see any in the next match. Two quality spinners are enough for SA on turning tracks.. Overall, good fight by Pakistan; no need to worry; It wasn't a loss to no.1 team but lose to an experienced side. Pakistan has a good pace battery but SA batsmen are the champions against pace due to playing in such conditions; so I dont think Pakistan can do much against SA with their pace bowling.

Posted by voyager on (February 21, 2013, 13:37 GMT)

One way to blunt the new ball danger is to not send the openers at all! :) and save them from nightmares:) I mean send night watchman openers like Sarfraz and Ajmal it might just pay off and they survive first five overs. Even if they don't you only lose your tail enders. Save Hafeez from Styn and he will score valuable runs.

Posted by AamirAbuOzair on (February 21, 2013, 13:19 GMT)

The main issue is the team selection. There are much more competent Wicket Keeper batsman playing in domestic cricket and were not picked. BTW I am not fond of Akmal brothers. They should all be limited to domestic cricket only. Similarly I question inclsion of Rahat in first and Tanvir in second match. Both were not even part of first squad. Weren't Ehsan Adil prefered in first place and if yes then why he is not given chance. Again if Hafeez is failing to impact as an opener, use him down the order and use him more as a bowler. The saga will continue till we have more sensible captain and selection team. For the last match, please bring in Ehsan Adil. He is a real prospect for us. Rest Gul as well. Junaid, Irfan and Ehsan Adil should steer our pace attack. Ajmal and Hafeez spinners. Azhar can open with Naser Jamshed. Rest of the batting line is fine. Feel sorry to say that we are stuck with Sarfraz as the only wicket keeper. Another master decision by our incompetent team selectors!

Posted by DeckChairand6pack on (February 21, 2013, 13:18 GMT)

Talk about stating the obvious! Sadly, I think a catastrophic Pakistani batting collapse is just as likely as 2 big totals. The Proteas love bowling at this ground and to facilitate ease of passage, a revolving door has recently been fitted on the away team's changing room. All the talk in Pretoria is will they are won't they break their record of 49.

Posted by Spelele on (February 21, 2013, 13:13 GMT)

I feel a bit sorry for PAK. They have been outplayed at crucial moments in this series. Otherwise, they have performed pretty well. Overall, the PAK team has improved a lot from their 49 all out at the Wanderers. The extent of that improvement can only be judged after their performance in the 3rd test in Centurion though.

The batting will be a real concern. I personally think that the flatness of the Cape Town pitch flatters their improvement a bit (they were bowled out for 169 on that pitch too). Unless PAK find a way of tackling the new ball, which I believe to be too late for this particular series, then I predict another batting collapse for a score under or just over 100 (considering the nature of the pitch, and if they bat first). I just hope I'm wrong!

Posted by Sports4Youth on (February 21, 2013, 12:29 GMT)

Yes, consistency is important, but I think here bowlers have bowled badly, especially the 2nd test was lost by Gul & Tanvir. Regarding Tanvir you can argue that he scored an important 42 odd and he was playing almost after 2 years. But Gul ? It looked like Gul was playing for SA. Just imagine Pakistan playing with TEN players (11 - Gul = 10) and SA were playing with 12 players (11+Gul). Isnt that unfair ?


Posted by Cricinforma on (February 21, 2013, 12:26 GMT)

Misbah is a good captain with not many good players (internationaly recognized and established) around him, although there are quite a few. Misbah, Mohammed Hafeez should definately score more runs in the middle order. Azhar Ali could well be a better choice as an opener. Anyways, go out there and enjoy the game, after-all it is only an international cricket game. Give a couple of the youngsters a go in the upcoming game. Enjoy the match and all the goodness that comes with it. All the best.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 12:23 GMT)

Misbah my only advice is to tell your batsmen to be positive Because u can get out even you are set on African pitches so score as much before u get a good one from bowler which is always on cards

Posted by BnH1985Fan on (February 21, 2013, 12:17 GMT)

Post big totals and don't forget to get the opposition out twice in the match. It's a simple equation really!

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 12:16 GMT)

Misbah Misery will remain continue in Centurion Test? They lost the series due to bad selection (Tanvir & Rahat). Team management need to take some positive step, please explore some new talents in batting (Misbah, Younis, Imran Farhat will expire 8 month).

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 12:13 GMT)

If pakistan choose the right bowlers and batsmen they can be a handful. why the giant did not play at the wanderers is beyond me. Why bring in cover for the pack that is here and not play the bowlers that were chosen in the first place. then they should not have been here. Batting needs to improve to stand a chance and bowling need to be consistant. It all looks like its not going to happen and SA will win this one as well.

Posted by uk2009 on (February 21, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

its time for Misbah to retire. He is too defensive, a useless batsman and makes foolish team selections. Like in the first match he selected Rahat instead of Irfan or Ehsan Adeel In the second match he selected Tanvir instead of Abdur Rehman He also kept persisting with non performers like Umar Gul, Azhar Ali and Hafeez. I can't believe why Pakistan coach and captain keep persisting with Umar Gul. There are better bowlers than him like Wahab Riaz, Ehsan Adeel, Asad Ali

Posted by ubaidwani12 on (February 21, 2013, 12:04 GMT)

Misbah Is The Worst Captain Ever .

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