DUBAI: Australian opener Aaron Finch was happy at Australia’s fightback on the third day and felt his team can still fight it out on the fourth day.
Despite conceding a big 280 run lead Australia fought back to push Pakistan to 45/3 — an overall lead of 325 — at close on day three in Dubai on Tuesday.
It was off-spinner Bilal Asif who sparked a collapse in Australian innings as they lost their ten wickets for 60 runs after being well set at 142-0. That was due to Usman Khawaja’s 85 and Finch’s 62. Bilal had figures of 6-36, third-best by a Pakistani on Test debut.
“It wasn’t ideal to lose 10 for 60, but I thought the way we fought back in the last 17 overs to have them three down, 320 is still a significant lead – or deficit for us – but I thought the way we fought back was really positive.”
Finch said it is always challenging for a new batsman to score in sub-continent, he believes to put Pakistan under pressure, you need to dry up their wickets column.
He was inspired by the debutante off-spinner of Pakistan.
“Any time you play in the subcontinent you know that when you have new batters in it can be tough to start. Pakistan get up and about when they get some wickets. It is about identifying that, and being more patient and calm when you first get to the crease.
“They bowled exceptionally well. Bilal, with six-for on debut, was very good today.”
Finch praised Pakistan’s plans to keep things simple for ten overs and attacked just before lunch.
“They squeezed hard for a 10-over period, they set some straight fields, bowled straight but with a little reverse swing, and spin at the other end. It was tough going, a real grind. Credit to them, the 20 minutes before lunch and the 20 minutes after lunch were some real quality bowling. I felt we were just about through that.
“In the subcontinent, on slow wickets like this, the game flows, you can go through those 40 minute periods of no runs, then the runs flow for 15 minutes and they bring it back together.
Finch was not happy about the time he got out in the first inning.
“That was my bad for getting out right then when it was coming towards the end of that period, and not going on and getting through that. Once the ball got a little softer, it starts to be more inconsistent off the wicket.
“The bounce Bilal was getting with the old ball was extraordinary. He bowled quality, and we are going to have to come up with some really good plans in the second innings.
We are still really positive we can come out and fight hard in the second half of this game. Pakistan bowled beautifully. The way they squeezed the run rate just before and after lunch, put us under a lot of pressure.”
“There was a lot of videos that we watched, did a lot of research, but watching on a computer screen is obviously very different to being out of a Test-match environment facing him. The difference was the bounce. He is very tall, gets over the top, puts a lot of revs on the ball, which was a challenge to start with.
Finch praised Bilal Asif for being accurate and making the Aussie batsmen play on the front foot.
“He was very accurate as well, he didn’t give us much off the back foot, which was probably the easiest to score on a wicket like that.”