Australia in Pakistan, second Test day one live: Pakistan hit back over ‘Wrong’ pitch farce

Pakistan have hit back at criticisms of the first Test pitch as captain Babar Azam said his side was not scared of Australia.

The match was a dour draw in Australia’s first Test in Pakistan in 24 years as it became the Test with the fewest wickets fall in a match of over 330 overs this century as just 14 fell over the five days.

Pakistan have hit back over the week, but on the eve of the second Test, captain Azam said the boredom of the first Test was not a sign that Pakistan were scared of Australia’s bowling stocks.

“Every venue has different condition. Nothing to worry,” Babar told the reporters.

“This is a wrong perception that we’re scared of Australia or Pakistani batters played with a defensive approach in Rawalpindi Test.”

Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq, who scored his first two Test centuries in the match with 157 in the first and 111 not out in the second, said it’s not like other nations consult Pakistan before Test matches when they’re away.

“A draw is something nobody wants to see,” Imam had told ESPNcricinfo on Thursday.

“But when we go to Australian conditions, they don’t make pitches consulting us but make it according to their will so I think we should see our strength and should live up to our strength.”

Shocking that Imam-ul-Haq enjoyed the pitch.  Photo: AFP
Shocking that Imam-ul-Haq enjoyed the pitch. Photo: AFP

Then again, generally teams look for conditions that will help them win rather than give no opportunity for either side to compete.

Earlier in the week, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja basically confirming the lifeless Rawalpindi pitch was intentionally prepared to negate Australia’s world-class pace attack.

“I understand the frustration of the fans,” Ramiz said in a video posted on PCB’s Twitter account.

“Undoubtedly, it would have been very good if we had a result but this is a three-Test series and we need to understand that a lot of cricket still remains to be played.

“Just for the heck of it, we can’t prepare a fast pitch or a bouncy pitch and put the game in Australia’s lap.

“It’s important that when we play at home, we play to our strengths. We also had limited resources, unfortunately.”

Steve Smith said the pitch was not offering much on day four.

“It’s pretty benign,” Smith told reporters. “There’s not a great deal of pace and bounce in it for the seamers, that’s for sure.

“I think the spinners have offered a little bit. When you’ve hit the right length there’s been a bit of natural variation, and when you get it out a bit wider into the rough there’s a bit there as well.

“But outside of that, I don’t think there’s a great deal on offer for the fast bowlers … It’s a pretty benign, dead wicket.

“There’s not very much bounce, not a great deal of pace and if you’re bowling stump to stump and setting straight fields it’s not overly easy to score … but also probably difficult to get out as well.”


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