Things aren't quite working according to plan for Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach. A thumping series win against England and a crushing 341-run triumph against India in the Karachi Test had set things up nicely but Pakistan appeared both insipid and complacent in the second game at Rawalpindi, allowing India to square the series and gain tremendous confidence ahead of the next three games.
Woolmer was visibly livid after Pakistan's seven-wicket loss and had no qualms in admitting that his side had been "thrashed" in the contest. "Everything went wrong today," he said candidly at the post-match press conference. "We played badly and had four run-outs in a total of 265. We should have probably got 320. Judging by the standard of cricket, you can say we were complacent but I think India also deserve a lot of credit."
Having won an important toss, Pakistan surprised most by choosing to bat on a pitch that had some early help for the medium pacers, and then botched a chance to consolidate with some shambolic dismissals. "The ball did swing a bit early on," Woolmer added, "but I don't think we misread the pitch. There was not much for the bowlers after the early help and the fact is we didn't get any partnerships going. In hindsight we could have probably allowed our bowlers to use the early morning conditions but it was the batting that made the difference in the end. We expected it to turn a bit later but we got that wrong."
The turning points, according to Woolmer, were the run-outs of Shoaib Malik, caught napping by a brilliant throw from deep point, and Mohammad Yousuf, attempting a perilous second run on a misfield. Pakistan's misery continued into the afternoon, when they put forward a pedestrian display of fielding, and Woolmer felt it couldn't be easily condoned. "The fielding was shocking," he continued, "but it wasn't because of a lack of work. We had worked on it on the last two days and the guys were trying really hard. But we had a really bad day. Our body language also dropped when Sehwag and Tendulkar were batting."
Yet, despite all his frustrations, he added that there were positives to be taken from the game and applauded Shoaib Malik for a "superb" innings. He felt that Malik had shown a lot of composure and was happy that he could carry on the fine form that he showed at Peshawar.
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo