Pakistan will not experiment in third Test: Misbah
JOHANNESBURG: Pakistan will resist the urge to experiment with their side in the final cricket Test against South Africa at Centurion starting on Friday, captain Misbah-ul-Haq said.
The Proteas have already clinched the three-match series after winning the first two Tests in Johannesburg and Cape Town but Pakistan will not use the opportunity of the dead-rubber third match to give others in the squad a game.
“I think we need to play our best side; every game is important at Test level,” Misbah told reporters.
“We still have to have our selection meeting but I don’t think too much will change (from Cape Town).”
Misbah said the team were still not sure whether seamer Junaid Khan, who missed the second Test with a thigh injury, would be fit to return.
The addition of Khan, probably in place of Tanvir Ahmed, would be welcome on a Centurion pitch that looks to have plenty of pace and bounce.
Misbah agreed with Proteas coach Gary Kirsten that South African pitches were the hardest to bat on in world cricket.
“From my own experience I would have to agree with that,” Misbah said.
“South African pitches have more pace and bounce, while in the rest of the world the wickets are getting slower. Even in Australia you don’t get the same bounce.”
South Africa won the first Test at the Wanderers by 211 runs, following that up with a four-wicket victory at Newlands.
“It’s a matter of spending time and playing more cricket, getting used to playing on these wickets. It’s difficult to adjust but the more games you play here you get better and better.”
South African captain Graeme Smith said there would be no let-up from his team, especially because South Africa’s next series is away against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates at the end of the year.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for Pakistan,” said Smith. “They’ve got a really good bowling attack and they have some key performers. We saw in (the second Test in) Cape Town that if they perform well they can put us under pressure.
“This is a big Test for us considering that we are going to Abu Dhabi and Dubai where we expect the conditions to suit them a lot. We want to make an impact again and take that confidence there.”
Smith said South Africa wanted to extend an outstanding record at Centurion where they have won four of their most recent five Tests by an innings.
“We get great support there and it is a ground that suits our own style of play,” he said.
“There is swing for our bowlers and there is always something on offer for them. Our bowlers know how to handle those conditions extremely well.”
Misbah said Pakistan needed to improve their consistency in both batting and bowling.
“In the last game when we really needed to get them out or to put some more runs on the board we missed out,” he added.
Inexperience and the pressure put on his players by the South Africans had contributed to Pakistan’s poor performances, he said.
“He’s feeling better but because he has not done any practice it is very difficult to tell you right now,” said team manager Naveed Cheema.