Batsmen let us down - Mohsin
Pakistan interim coach Mohsin Khan admitted his team struggled to live up to his expectations on day one of the second Test in Abu Dhabi.
After winning the toss on a pitch synonymous with substantial scores, Pakistan - who lead the three-match series 1-0 following a convincing 10-wicket triumph in Dubai - initially slipped to 103 for four in the face of disciplined England bowling.
An unbeaten 83 from skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, together with Asad Shafiq’s 58, helped the designated home side recover somewhat and they reached stumps on 256 for seven.
However, Mohsin felt a stronger position should have been established in relatively favourable batting conditions.
Speaking at the close, he said: “I can say that Misbah has played a tremendous innings so far and Asad Shafiq has done pretty well, but we were hoping to get to around 300 today, with just three or four down.
“We won the toss and we knew that this pitch plays a little bit of tricks early in the first session. We thought we just had to play safely in the first session and then capitalise on that in the second one and third one.
"But unfortunately, we lost two wickets in the first session and then again early in the second one.”
With the exception of the defiant Misbah, all of Pakistan’s top six were guilty of losing their wickets when well set, an issue that clearly frustrated their coach.
“I’ve been pretty worried about that,” Mohsin added. “We have solved this problem to a certain extent, but I have to work very much harder, because batsmen are getting forties and fifties and then getting out, like Asad Shafiq today.
“He was playing marvellously well, he was doing a wonderful job for his team, but then suddenly he lost his wicket and all the pressure came back on us. This is a problem and we have to sort it out as soon as possible.”
Shafiq’s dismissal, shortly before the new ball became available, represented a particularly heavy blow for Mohsin’s men. After impressing in a fifth-wicket stand of exactly 100 with Misbah, he aimed an ungainly heave at off-spinner Graeme Swann and was adjudged lbw.
“I had a go at him, because you see the team suffers,” revealed a straight-talking Mohsin.
“Any player, whether it’s a senior player or a young player, if someone is playing for their country, they should understand their responsibility is to play for the team.
“I had a go at him ... in a loving way. He was told very seriously that this is not the way to get out, especially when the team is struggling to get onto a better score.”
Although Shafiq came in for criticism, Mohsin had nothing but praise for Misbah, who once again exhibited his fighting qualities in defying England for 168 balls.
"He is a very fine sensible leader," said the coach of his captain. "I would call him a responsible cricketer. He knows that he is playing for the country, he is leading the team.
"Even when he was not the captain I was very impressed with Misbah, as he almost always showed responsibility and that is very important."