DUBAI - Pakistan's head coach Waqar Younis Tuesday argued Dubai Test was a good advertisement for Test cricket , stressing there were no fears for the longer format of the game.
Pakistan pulled off an exciting last minute win over England by 178 runs in the second Test in Dubai on Monday, with just 6.3 overs left in the game. England's ninth wicket pair of Adil Rashid (61) and Mark Wood (29) batted for 29.2 overs to put up a resolute 55-run stand and had almost denied Pakistan a victory.
Contrastingly, Pakistan narrowly escaped a defeat in the first Test in Abu Dhabi when bad light denied England of a dramatic win on the final day, with just 25 needed in the last eight overs when the match was finished. Waqar believed the Dubai Test served as good promotion of Test cricket , often criticised for boring draws, and which is under threat with the advent of more thrilling Twenty20 matches.
"Yes, the last day of the Test match was a good advert for the game, may be not for us," said Waqar. "I think a Test match going to full distance is an outstanding thing for the game. I think the game of Test cricket won on Monday."
But Waqar disagreed Test cricket was in any danger. "I don't think Test cricket 's future is bleak in any way," said Waqar, himself a paceman of great standing. "Test cricket is the actual cricket and the way Test cricket is going on I think we should appreciate it and there are no dangers to it." The Pakistan handler did concede however his charges were now playing less Test matches. "That's an issue that we play less Test cricket ," said Waqar. "It has been discussed with the officials as well. If you look world-wide all top teams play 15-18 Tests every year and we play six to eight, maximum we play ten, so I think that needs to be improved."
Waqar credited both Pakistan and England for the tremendous fight in the Dubai Test. "Credit to the boys the way they played the Test, bowlers gave their best and credit must also be given to England, the way they showed resistance and made the overall cricket very good," said Waqar.
It was nice to be 1-0 up in the three-match series, Waqar said after the first Test had ended in a draw. "We have to make it 2-0 in Sharjah," he added before warning England would fight back on Saturday.
Bayliss says England competed on equal terms: England coach Trevor Bayliss Tuesday said his team competed against Pakistan on equal terms and need to do the same to level the series in the third and final Test in Sharjah later this week.
England lost the second Test against Pakistan by 178 runs in Dubai on Monday but not before putting up a valiant fight through their tail-enders who batted all but 6.3 overs on the final day to threaten a draw.
Number seven Adil Rashid, who scored 61 for his maiden half-century, and Mark Wood (29) batted for 29.2 overs during their ninth wicket stand of 55 before Pakistan pulled up a last gasp victory for a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The first Test ended in a draw in Abu Dhabi.
Bayliss said it was disappointing to lose the match and explained why. "I think we've competed on equal terms with them. We need to do the same and we need to make some improvements as well."
England came close to victory in the first Test when, chasing 99 for victory in 19 overs, they were denied by bad light with just 25 needed in eight overs. "It's been a very even nine days of Test cricket over here (in Abu Dhabi and Dubai) and unfortunately we played very poorly on day three of this last Test," said Bayliss of England's collapse from 182-3 to 242 all out.
While Pakistani spinners Yasir Shah (eight wickets) and Zulfiqar Babar (three wickets) did well in Dubai , Bayliss thinks his spinners Rashid and Moeen Ali fell short.
"We need to score some runs in that middle order and we are disappointed with our spin bowling as well. I will say they are bowling against some of the best players of spin in the world but I think it's a great learning curve.
"The two spinners we've got are learning quickly and I'm sure they'll get better," said Bayliss who hinted the inclusion of left-arm spinner Samit Patil in the final Test starting in Sharjah from Saturday. "We have been thinking about playing a third spinner in Sharjah. We'll have to wait and see the wicket. I think the strength in our bowling has been our pace bowling so we don't necessarily want to change that either."
Bayliss said batsman James Taylor's inclusion can benefit the team. "He's probably one of our better players of spin. I think he showed in the practice matches we played that he can play well over here. So to have someone like that probably somewhere in the middle order would be a benefit to the team as well," said Bayliss of Taylor whose only two Tests were in 2012.