LAHORE-Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has lauded his side for its commitment and belief in the Southampton Test following a heart-breaking 3-wicket defeat in the Manchester Test. 

“It was always going to be difficult to fight back after what happened in Manchester but the players’ commitment and belief was outstanding. We have the belief that we can come back in the final Test and it’s so important to us that Pakistan supporters back home and around the world share that belief with us,” Misbah wrote in his column for the Pakistan Cricket Board website here on Wednesday. “It was another brave decision to bat first in the second Test given the conditions but everybody took on the challenge. 

“Overall I’m really happy with the way the team batted. Everybody just tried to hang in and score runs. “The partnerships involving Abid Ali, Azhar Ali and Babar Azam at the top of the order were really pleasing and encouraging, in testing conditions,” wrote Pakistan’s most successful Test captain.

Misbah opined the bowlers’ performance in England’s short first innings would give his side the require momentum going in the third Test, which will commence in Southampton on Friday. “We expected the pitch to deteriorate towards the end of the match and it did. Even with just a couple of hours of sun at the end of the match, Yasir Shah was able to challenge the England batsmen. “The seamers also bowled really well and I was really happy with the way we finished the match. That last session, even as the game drifted towards a draw, gives us a lot of confidence going into the last Test. “It’s a big game and we want to end the series on a good note.” 

Misbah praised Rizwan’s fighting 72 saying fitness was one of the key factors behind his performance. “Rizwan fought really hard so that we, at least, had a decent score to put a little bit of pressure on England. He showed glimpses in the first Test, when his wicketkeeping was also wonderful, and against Australia in Brisbane last November.