Misbah delights in series win
Victorious Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq hailed a “great victory” for his team after they bowled England out for 72 in Abu Dhabi to secure the three-Test series with a match to spare.
Abdur Rehman, who returned 6-25, was the pick of a three-pronged spin attack that undermined England’s pursuit of 145 on a surface offering appreciable assistance to the slower bowlers.
"That was a much-needed victory for us, that’s why we are so happy about it," said Misbah, who has yet to lose a Test series since taking over as captain.
"I think (it was) a wonderful team effort, everybody just performed and put their 100% in. What we were looking forward to at the start of this series, we have achieved that."
After failing to impress in Dubai, England were on top for much of this match.
They restricted Pakistan, who won the toss, to 257 en route to a first-innings lead of 70, and then had their opponents in further trouble at 54 for four yesterday.
A fifth-wicket partnership of 88 between Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq ultimately proved crucial for the designated home side, who then went on to excel with the ball.
"We were just short of 60 or 70 runs in the first innings, admitted Misbah. "But I think even with the deficit, the way Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq played under pressure, it was a wonderful performance.
"At the end, (I thought) if we can get more than 120 or 130 runs it could be a game. We were thinking that if we can just put pressure on England we can make a match of it - so let's have a try.
"The bowlers were outstanding, and it is a great victory for us."
Misbah commiserated with England over their difficulty in playing to anywhere near the standards they have set, in conditions alien to them.
"Some of the balls were turning, some skidding on - so it's really difficult for a batsman to guess what's happening," said the Pakistan skipper.
"Whenever you have to play in conditions you are not used to, you face some difficulties.
"That is what happens when Pakistan go to England - there are difficulties for us - and when England or any team outside Asia play here, they struggle to play good quality spin bowling.
"The way the ball turns, it's really difficult for them on these wickets."
None of that detracts from another fine performance from Pakistan.
"We believe we can win and perform. That's really playing a big part," said Misbah.
"Even in these conditions, to beat the number one side is a really big effort from the team - and I'm really happy they are putting their efforts in, growing in confidence, responding in the situations.
"But it wasn't easy. It was 50-50, and even in the last session England had a chance to win."
Rehman, meanwhile, was delighted after returning career-best figures in England’s second innings.
"It’s the first time I have got five wickets, in the last few games I have got four-for, but today I got the fifth and six wickets," said the left-arm spinner.
"Yesterday my team-mates said 150 was enough, and today we committed, bowled line and length, (and did) not give them a single run."