Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Pakistan's Abu Dhabi cricket Test collapse a concern for coach Mickey Arthur

Youth and inexperience in squad not an excuse to capitulate, says South African after 21-run defeat to Sri Lanka

It was the fifth time in Tests since the start of 2016 that Pakistan have lost 10 wickets on the fifth day. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo
It was the fifth time in Tests since the start of 2016 that Pakistan have lost 10 wickets on the fifth day. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo

Mickey Arthur said the young Pakistan side have find a way to arrest their damaging habit for batting collapses, after they fell to a stunning 21-run loss to Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi.

The hosts were only chasing 136 to win the first Test at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

Six wickets for Rangana Herath, the last of which was the 400th of his sparkling 84-Test career, brought about a capitulation, as Pakistan fell to their first defeat in 10 Tests at the ground.

Alarmingly, it was the fifth time in Tests since the start of 2016 that Pakistan have lost 10 wickets on the fifth day.

“It is a trend,” said Arthur, the Pakistan coach. “I can't sit here and say that our batting line up is a young line up because this is international cricket, and you have to cut your teeth in international cricket.

“That’s certainly the expectation on our batsmen. It’s disappointing. Call it pressure? I’m not sure. It is something which we will sit down discuss and dissect going forward.”

Herath has enjoyed more success over the course of his Test career against Pakistan that against any other side.

Arthur said the Pakistan batsmen needed to be more aggressive against Herath's left-arm spin.

“We did a lot of homework, and our players have played him a lot,” Arthur said.

“On the last day he was always going to be a factor and you have got to give him respect, but I would probably have liked to see our batsmen take him on.

“Early on I would have liked batsmen to attack him. Once you take him on, and that goes for any bowler, the game sort of settles down.

“The key to that was to remain positive and not getting tentative and looking for runs, so if you allow Herath to settle down he will do what he did, I would like him to be attacked more.”


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Day 2 report: Chandimal shows leadership

Day 3 report: The calmness of Azhar Ali

Day 4 report: Pakistan spinners back


Dinesh Chandimal, the Sri Lanka captain who made 155 in the first innings, was proud of the victory, given the troubled build up and the difficult conditions.

“It is tough, especially with this heat,” Chandimal said. “The management support us, even during the game, going around giving the players drinks, and that makes a difference.

“We are a family. We didn’t feel that heat as we were binding as a family. That is the difference we had in this game.

“We are over the moon. Finally, the hard work paid off. As a team, we were below par in our performances, but we have waited for this win and finally we got it.

“Credit goes to all the players. They played some really good cricket, I’m sure this can continue throughout the series.”

The second Test, which will be Sri Lanka’s first under floodlights and using a pink ball, starts on Friday at the Dubai International Stadium.

Day 5, Abu Dhabi Test: At a glance

Moment of the day When Dilruwan Perera dismissed Yasir Shah to end Pakistan’s limp resistance, the Sri Lankans charged around the field with the fevered delirium of a side not used to winning. Trouble was, they had not. The delivery was deemed a no ball. Sri Lanka had a nervy wait, but it was merely a stay of execution for the beleaguered hosts.

Stat of the day – 5 Pakistan have lost all 10 wickets on the fifth day of a Test five times since the start of 2016. It is an alarming departure for a side who had apparently erased regular collapses from their resume. “The only thing I can say, it’s not a mitigating excuse at all, but that’s a young batting line up, obviously trying to find their way,” said Mickey Arthur, Pakistan’s coach.

The verdict Test matches in the UAE are known for speeding up on the last two days, but this was extreme. The first two innings of this Test took 11 sessions to complete. The remaining two were done in less than four. The nature of Pakistan’s capitulation at the end showed just how difficult the transition is going to be in the post Misbah-ul-Haq era.