Sarfraz hails youngsters for Lord’s win

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed hailed the spirit of his young team in winning the first Test against a formidable and experienced England team at Lord’s on Sunday.
The victory, which gives Pakistan a 1-0 win in the two-match series, was achieved after last four England wickets fell for just 16 runs in the space of 18 balls, leaving the visitors to get 64 runs.
Haris Sohail with 39 and Imam-ul-Haq with 18 not out sees Pakistan through just before the lunch interval on the fourth morning. The second Test starts at Leeds from Friday.
Sarfraz said no team as young as this had ever won a Test at Lord’s.“I cant describe the feeling because with a team that we are here to play on this ground no one was recognizing us but no praise is enough for the boys especially the fast bowlers who set the tone on the first day,” said Sarfraz of Pakistan getting England out for a paltry 184 on Thursday.

Mohammad Abbas, who finished with 8-64, took 4-23 with Hasan Ali chipping in with four wickets.

“Then our batsmen responded, you name anyone Abbas, Amir, Hasan, Faheem and Shadab, batsmen Azhar, Asad, Babar, Haris, and Shadab. The way this young team has played I don’t think any young team, would have done like this previously at this prestigious and big ground,” said Sarfraz.

For Pakistan Babar Azam made 68 before he retired hurt after being hit on the wrist by a Ben Stokes ‘s delivery while Asad Shafiq (59), Shadab Khan (52) and Azhar Ali (50) also chipped in to give Pakistan a big 363 run total and a lead of 179 runs.

Asked was he surprised at the convincing win, Sarfarz replied in affirmative: “Yes, I am very surprised but if you look at the England team they are very experienced but I am proud of my players, the way the bowlers set the tone, then batsmen responded, that was great. Then again my bowlers responded with the old ball, Abbas and Amir bowled today, I am proud of my boys.”

Sarfraz also praised Pakistan’s fielding, giving credit to the hard work done by departing fielding coach Steve Rixon.

“Look when we were playing the Malahide Test we realized that the slip cordon will be important if you want to win a Test in England, the credit goes to the boys and then to the fielding catch Steve Rixon, they responded well. Asad’s catches in the slip, I had a catch so it was great to see that boys did good fielding.

“Steve has worked really hard so if you see our fielding is on improvement for the last one and half years

“Look, when we got them on 184 so we thought that if we have two three good knocks then we will get lead. Although we did not have big innings but small contributions helped us take lead, so the conditions were difficult.

“I played in the 2016 test but I found this pitch more difficult, so that’s an encouraging sign. Their bowling was very experienced Broad, Anderson they didn’t give us any loose delivery but we batted well. The ball was moving so no credit is enough for the batsmen.”

Sarfraz hailed the spirit in the young team, trying to back each other to the hilt.

“When we came here we knew that its an important tough because we are an inexperienced team. We knew that even a test against Ireland would not be easy, Ireland gave us a tough time and that helped us prepare for the Test.

“We had a good practice of bowling and batting. We thought that even if we lose we should learn, we had nothing to lose so played with that concept. We had nothing to lose but had enough to learn. The young team has done so well, I don’t think we ever had such a young team at Lord’s before.

“This team had 12 players who had never played at Lord’s before so th way they responded is great. Asad showed his experience, Azhar batted, Babar had pressure on him that he doesn’t play well in Tests, Haris did well and then Shadab, so we gave them confidence and told them that don’t care about win or lose.

“I will also give credit to the selection committee, they chose the players and the team management gave them the backing. Young players think of other players and fight for the team and for the players, they dived to save runs and help each other.”

Asked how he analyses his captaincy, Sarfraz laughed off: “I don’t have anything for self-analysis. I shout and scream at my players so there is nothing, everything is right in front of you so I try to take all my players with me. , I have the best relationship with all my players. I was very angry with Hasan Ali because he was not getting wicket tomorrow because we were in a very good position at tea. But this is Test cricket, The best thing is they listen to me and understand me and they apply.”

Sarfraz said Amir came out of the pressure very well, finishing with 4-36 in the second innings.

“When we came here we had expectations from him that he will be our main strike bowler and he will bowl well. There was pressure on him. He got only one wicket in the practice match. But we had that belief that he will come good. Inzi talked to him one on one and then Mickey talked to him, I spoke with him.

“But the way he responded was great, he didn’t get very many wickets but he responded well in the second innings had Malan and Bairstow and today he got two wickets. He changed his length which is key to getting wickets in England, he pitched up and got wickets, so the team management and the bowling coach helped him gain that rhythm.”

Sarfraz hoped the win will help for the future.

“This will help for the future. We have learned a lot. At one point we thought that the match will finish on the third day but that is Test cricket and we learned. The next Test at Leeds in very important and we will prepare more for that, The boys will get more confidence as a team.

“This is a learning process and we have to learn more as a Test team. The next Test is also very important. Their recent record is not good but they have experience. I will not say they played badly but I will say that we played well. We outplayed them and our boys responded well. This kind of wickets we had not got in the past so I will back my players to win the next test and the series