‘Pindi Test momentum will be carried into the Karachi Test’, says Babar Azam

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By our correspondent

KARACHI: Showing great satisfaction over his charges’ performance in the first Test in Rawalpindi Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam on Friday said that they would carry the same momentum into the second Test against Australia which will begin here at the National Stadium from Saturday (today).

“I think overall the team’s performance in Pindi remained very good and we set the momentum which we will carry into the next game in Karachi and will try to win it,” Babar told a virtual news conference.

“There is a bit hot here and conditions are different. We have got the momentum and the way we dominated the first Test which saw excellent individual performances and the team did well overall. The way batsmen batted and bowlers bowled Australia out and Nauman picked six wickets was heartening,” Babar said.

Babar said they would have psychological advantage over the visitors following a fine display from his charges in Rawalpindi.

“Yes, we have got psychological advantage after the way we dominated the first Test. It instilled a lot of confidence in the team and we will carry it into the Karachi test,” said Babar in a question from an Australian journalist.

He dispelled the impression that there was a fear factor which forced the authorities to prepare a flat wicket in Rawalpindi during which only 14 wickets fell in five days.

“There was no fear factor,” Babar said. “Conditions are similar for both the teams. The points of the Test Championship are very crucial. As a team it is our plan to win the series. The way our team dominated there is no fear factor at all. We performed and put in our best, although results did not come which were not in our hands. I think the result might have been different had some overs not wasted due to rain,” the skipper said.

Asked if Pakistan should not take chances of preparing bouncy tracks as they have fast bowling resources, Babar said it’s not possible.

“It’s not possible to bring Australian conditions here. Every venue has different conditions and here too conditions are different and we utilise them. Here the weather is hot and spinners will get help later on,” Babar said.

He said that the Karachi track looks to be supporting.

“The pitch looks to be supporting. Whatever the sort of pitch will be you will have to work hard to score runs and get wickets. Delivering against tough Australia is always difficult. I think the way the team performed, worked hard and dominated is fantastic. You have to act as per plans in every department. You need patience and the way our team showed patience both in batting and bowling was outstanding and we will continue it,” Babar said.

Babar did not disclose the final XI, saying it was almost decided. “Our two main players Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf have also come back and will also consider them,” Babar said.

“In Karachi, earlier on, due to wind, bowlers get assistance and there you need little bit of focus. I am confident the way our batsmen performed in the first game they will carry the same form,” Babar said.

He termed both his team’s batting and bowling strong, saying both departments cannot always click at the same time. “We have strength in both batting and bowling. It depends how you play. It does not always happen that you click in both departments. Sometimes bowling seals win for you and sometimes batting does the same. This is a sort of communication how we take them along. Each of our players is a match-winner. Our leading spinners Sajid and Nauman have delivered and so has been done by the fast bowlers. It’s important how you play as a unit,” Babar said when quizzed what was his team’s strong area.

He also ruled out the impression that Pakistani batsmen batted too slow in Rawalpindi.

“I think we have not batted slowly,” Babar said. “Abdullah Shafique was playing his fourth game and Imam was making a comeback. The way our batsmen played is not appreciated and it is said that we batted slowly. The confidence of Australia’s top four bowlers was very high following a superb Ashes victory. Our batsmen initially observed the situation and read Australian bowlers. And when they knew everything including the pitch behaviour they dominated. They took run-rate even to four and half but you know you cannot dominate every session. Sometimes oppositions also dominate and there you have to play with focus and deny them the wicket which puts pressure on the opponents. They also made certain field adjustments after 80 overs and runs were not easy to come,” Babar explained.

Asked that Australia has decided to go with the leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson in the second Test and whether he has seen him, Babar said: “We have not seen him much and will look at his videos and then plan.”