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Shan rues giving ruthless Australia a sniff

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MELBOURNE: Pakis­tan captain Shan Masood rued his side letting Australia off the hook at key moments in the second Test but was taking plenty of positives out of the 79-run defeat at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

The performance was a clear improvement on that the tourists produced in losing the opener by 360 runs two weeks ago and Shan, who took over as skipper in November, said he thought there were signs of a way forward for the team.

“We’ve taken 20 wickets which we haven’t done in Australia for a while, that’s a box ticked,” he said. “In terms of runs, everyone got good starts and there were some nice fifties but in Test cricket against quality sides, you want to get the hundreds.

“So a lot to work on but this is the blueprint of the way we want to play Test cricket and hopefully we’ll keep doing that.”

Pakistan came close to ending a 15-match losing streak in Australia going back to 1995 as they chased 317 for victory on Friday and Shan thought it was clear where the match had been lost.

“You can’t give a quality side like Australia a sniff, which we did. Maybe sometimes with the ball, maybe sometimes with the bat, yesterday maybe in the field,” he added. “If you (don’t) drop someone in form like Mitchell Marsh, we might … have been chasing 237 today, but mistakes happen.”

Marsh was dropped on 20 on Thursday before going on to score 96 in a partnership of 153 with Steve Smith that rescued Australia from 16-4 in their second innings.

Shan, who scored half centuries in each innings, said it was imperative that the batsmen produced bigger scores if they were to compete with the Australians in the third and final test in Sydney next week.

“They’re ruthless,” he added. “They have some world class bowlers in their ranks and if you give them a sniff, if you don’t convert your fifties into hundreds, you might not have enough runs on the board.”

Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2023


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