SHARJAH - The atmosphere was one where all the players out in the middle took things one at a time without any loud appeals and bouncers, especially the New Zealand side. Pakistan's M Hafeez who missed out on his first double ton in Test cricket was his usual calm self and dedicated his highest Test score to Phil Hughes, who passed away in Sydney on Thursday after being hit by a bouncer during a Sheffield Shield game on Tuesday. "The mood was really depressing and while batting, thoughts of Phil going through those moments came to my mind, in fact all our minds. I just took it one ball at a time and I would like to dedicate my highest Test score to Phil Hughes," said Hafeez, shortly after the end of the second day's play in Sharjah.
Hafeez continued: "There is no doubt that the innings played by (Brendon) McCullum was outstanding. He just put the entire pressure on us. And to be honest, our spinners also did not bowl that well today. This pitch is not turning much, but if you still pitch in the right place, it becomes difficult for the batsmen to score. Really, this was the first time in almost four to five weeks since we started playing Tests here and did not win a single session during the day. So, we will have to plan better tomorrow to come back into this Test match.
New Zealand coach Michael Hesson was low profile, saying all his team wanted to do for the day (2nd day) was go through the basics and not think too deep into the game. "We are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Phil Hughes. It is a sad time for his family, friends, team-mates and all cricket fans. Phil was a wonderful player and well liked by everyone he played with and against.", Hesson said. "On behalf of the Kiwis side, I pass our heartfelt condolences and also like to pass our thoughts for Sean Abbot. It's a tragic and sobering situation for everybody. I think everybody dealt in different ways, everybody in the team is affected. Today wasn't about cricket, today was about supporting one of our fellow player. A number of players knew Phil very well, some played with him and some against, they are really affected and we all went through the different stages of grieving. The game was irrelevant at that stage, that was just a natural reaction (not celebrating) by a group of people whose mind was elsewhere. We didn't have anyone under the close field and under a helmet and didn't bowl any bouncer and that was to show respect."
On offspinner Mark Craig, Hesson remarked: "Craig drifted the ball and certainly created lots of curves and he drew players wider than he normally does. He has a lot of character and is good in all three facets of the game and was really nice to see him get some reward against good batsmen."