Pakistan unchanged for final Test

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iol spt feb21 Misbah Gallo Images Captain Misbah-ul-Huq says Pakistan will stick to their tried and tested team.

Johannesburg – Pakistan will stick to their tried and tested team for the third and final Test against South Africa, captain Misbah-ul-Huq said in Johannesburg on Thursday.

“We are evolving with every game and we will play our best side,” said a subdued Misbah on the eve of the Centurion Test.

“All over the world, wickets are getting slower and even in Australia you don’t find wickets like this anymore, so it’s a matter of spending some time in the middle and getting used to the conditions.

“Initially, it’s difficult to adjust but the more you play, the better you get, so we don’t want to make too many changes.”

He said his side needed to put up a better show and, despite the match being a dead rubber, he emphasised the importance of Test cricket and said neither side would take the match lightly.

“The South Africans know the importance of Test cricket and they want to win every game,” he said.

“Every team wants to win every game, and not just win the series, so both of us want it just as badly.”

To give themselves a chance, Misbah said the batting unit needed to produce a better performance and the team needed to capitalise on opportunities when they held the upper hand.

“Our major goal is to win this Test but it’s not just about one innings. You have to bat well in both innings and post good totals to give a chance to your team and to your bowlers.

“You also have to get a team out twice. You can’t just get them out once and then let the advantage slip out of your hands.”

He said the touring side’s lack of experience had been exposed during the series but also paid credit to the hosts for exerting constant pressure on both their batting and bowling units.

“We’ve been working hard in the nets and hoping we’ll get better. Everybody is trying their level best, especially in trying to combat the new ball.”

He hoped the harder pitch would benefit his seamers and that giant paceman, Mohammad Irfan, would reap some rewards on the surface.

“I think Irfan will be effective on this wicket although he is new to Test cricket,” Misbah said.

“He used to play in Pakistan on seamer-friendly pitches and he is the kind of bowler that can surprise with bounce and pace.”

Fast bowler Junaid Khan, who missed the Newlands Test with a thigh injury, had recovered but was unlikely to play if he was not match fit.

The Pakistan selectors were meeting later in the day and Misbah said he expected only one possible change. – Sapa

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