Mohammad Yousuf, the Pakistan captain, has demanded better fielding from his side after their butter-fingered performance in the narrow defeat to New Zealand in the first Test in Dunedin.
Pakistan spilled four chances, including a costly drop by Imran Farhat when Daniel Vettori was on 1 in the first innings (he went on to make 99), which played a part in extending their winless streak in Tests to 34 months. "We didn't field well in the first innings and gave away some runs," Yousuf said. "Credit to New Zealand for the way they bowled in the second innings. We wouldn't be chasing 250-odd had we not dropped vital catches."
Yousuf was the only specialist batsman in the Pakistan line-up to have more than 30 Test caps, another factor which he attributed the defeat to. "Chasing 250 in the second innings is always difficult and more so for us, as we had an inexperienced batting line-up."
It was a thrilling finale, with all results still possible going into tea, played out in front of a small but vocal crowd at the University Oval. "It's disappointing that we lost but it's been a good game for cricket, Test cricket especially. It was an excellent game."
Nineteen-year-old debutant Umar Akmal's second impressive innings in the match had made Pakistan favourites in the final session before Shane Bond dismissed him caught and bowled to start New Zealand's fightback. It was Bond's comeback Test after a two-year spell on the sidelines for his ICL tie-up, and he marked the occasion with a Man-of-the-Match performance, grabbing eight wickets.
"Bond bowled superbly, and his performance was the major difference between the teams," Yousuf said. "I have faced many fast bowlers, and Shane Bond is among the best. He bowls an excellent line and at a pretty good speed."
Pakistan's middle-order and slip-catching will be bolstered by the return of Misbah-ul-Haq for the second Test in Wellington, which starts on December 3.