x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Butt backs Pakistan bowlers to prosper

Pakistan opener Salman Butt has warned Australia's batsmen to prepare for another searching examination when they embark on their second innings.

Pakistan opener Salman Butt has warned Australia's batsmen to prepare for another searching examination when they embark on their second innings on an SCG wicket he believes is still unpredictable. Butt top-scored with 71 as the visitors progressed to 331 for nine and a lead of 204 during another eventful day of Test cricket. And while Butt, Mohammad Yousuf (46) and Umar Akmal (49) all made batting look easy on the unusually grassy Sydney wicket, the stylish left-hander insists conditions still heavily favour of the bowlers. "They've been tough throughout these two days and I think the pitch might change slightly but not that much," Butt said. "It's one of those where you're never settled and you're never in. "The time you think that you're in and suddenly the ball does something, so you've got to have a good laugh about it and stay relaxed because it's not under your control. "Definitely this pitch is not going to change completely. It's not going to become a batting paradise. There will always be something for the seamers and hopefully the spinners also get help and if Danish (Kaneria) can do what he's capable of we'll be well off." But while the opener was eager to put doubt in his opponents' minds, the local paceman Doug Bollinger, who led a late fightback which saw the hosts take seven for 141 after tea, reckons the wicket is becoming increasingly placid. "It's doing a bit with the new ball obviously but when it's not swinging or anything it's a good place to bat as you saw with the (Pakistan) openers," said Bollinger, who continued his impressive recent form by claiming three for 70. "So you fight hard and then you'll get your runs from it." Despite facing a sizeable first-innings deficit, the lethal left-armer warned the tourists not to get ahead of themselves, insisting the hosts are capable of turning things around. "It was a good fightback by the guys," he said. "It was a bit frustrating early but they were two-for at tea and now they're nine down," he said. "So I think just try and get the last one tomorrow and then get our batting hats on for a certain amount of time and get something to bowl to in the second innings." Bollinger, a clear favourite with the SCG faithful on the opening two days, added of his stunning recent form: "I'm just really enjoying myself at the moment, just enjoying playing Test cricket and just being around the guys. "I'm really enjoying taking wickets and how I'm bowling at the moment. It's just the old thing of just keep putting in and they (wickets) will come late. That's just what I'm clinging to and I'm enjoying the fight of Test cricket."

* PA Sport