Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur believes the top-order batsmen must shoulder some responsibility for failing to give the team a solid start in their second innings chase on Monday.
Needing 136 to win the first Test at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the hosts were reeling at 36-5 after openers Shan Masood (7), Sami Aslam (2), Azhar Ali (0) and Asad Shafiq (20) struggled against Sri Lanka’s attack.
More was expected from them especially after Masood (59), Aslam (51) and Ali (85) scored half-centuries in the first innings and Arthur felt at least one big partnership was needed to beat Sri Lanka.
“My thoughts were that one good partnership would get us home and that needed to have come from the top four and others to bat around them but unfortunately it didn’t happen,” he said.
“I’m just really disappointed with the way things panned out. Today chasing 136 you expect one good partnership so that’s particularly disappointing., It was challenging but we probably should have got there.”
Veteran spinner Rangana Herath was the catalyst, taking match figures of 11-139 including a spell-binding 6-43 in the second innings.
Arthur rued the opportunity that his batsmen could not attack Herath more.
“We did a lot of homework on him,” said the 49-year-old South African. “Our players played against him a lot. But obviously on the last day he was always going to be a factor and you got to give him more respect but I would probably have liked to see our batsmen take him on.
“Early on, I would have liked us to attack him, once you take him on and that goes for any bowler, the game sort of settles down. Had one partnership goes on, I am going back to Niroshan Dickwella in the morning and for a period when Ahmed Sarfraz and Sohail Haris (42-run stand for the sixth-wicket) were batting – the key to that was to remain positive and not get tentative, looking for runs. So if you allow Herath to settle down he will do what he did today so I would have liked us to have attacked him more.”
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