Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq put the blame for the crushing second Test defeat at Old Trafford on the shoulders of the batsmen, saying that their output was unacceptable.
“Our batting was a big disappointment,” said Misbah. “To get 198 and 234 on a good pitch — you can’t take that.”
Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah took 10-141 at Lord’s but only managed figures of 1-266 at Old Trafford.
Misbah, at a loss to explain the discrepancy, felt that maybe Yasir’s workload was to blame, with the second Test coming hot on the heels of the first one. “It was tiredness maybe, a lot of overs — I don’t know,” he said. “It was a big difference. But he is a strong character, and before the next Test he will analyse what went wrong — and come back.”
Pakistan have three ‘reserve batsmen’ in their squad in Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan and Sami Aslam.
They will hope to press their case for a Test call-up in a two-day tour game against Worcestershire starting on Friday. “It’s a chance for us and them at Worcester,” said Misbah. “Some of them [the current top order] are getting starts but not converting those starts into bigger innings.”
Cook-ing with Root
Alastair Cook said batting with Joe Root encouraged “blockers like me” to go for their shots.
Cook and Root scored 506 runs between them at Old Trafford. “[Root] is a world-class player, and it was a great innings — one of the best I’ve seen — to really set up the game for us,” said Cook. “He keeps the scoreboard ticking over, so blockers like me get carried away.”
The only downside for England on Monday was when all-rounder Ben Stokes went off midway through his sixth over with a right calf injury.
And Cook said Stokes, returning to England action for the first time since injuring his left knee in the Sri Lanka series opener in May, was a ‘fairly big doubt’ for next week’s third Test at Edgbaston.
Cook was delighted by the way England had upped their game after being well below their best at Lord’s.
“It was us showing the standard of cricket we can play,” he said. “We didn’t do that at Lord’s. We didn’t bowl as well as we could [there], certainly didn’t bat as well as we could, and dropped too many catches. We put most of those things right in this game.”