Sarfraz Ahmed, Captain of the Pakistan Cricket Team, after his side's amazing win yesterday said that playing against Ireland in Malahide this month was a great preparation for the start of the two-Test vigil against England and helped immensely in beating the hosts at the home of cricket, Lord's.
Not just the Ireland Test, Pakistan has arrived in England with great preparation, having gone through extreme fitness, and planning camps at home. And, the first Test was their fifth first-class game of the tour, meaning they were ripe to do something as brilliant as they did during the week gone by.
The young, emotional, driven, passionate and highly skillful Pakistan Team went onto eventually beat England by 9 wickets in a match they dominated every session of barring one.
Sarfraz Ahmed was heard saying after the game that, "Yes, I am very surprised, This English team is a very experienced one. But, I am very proud of my team because of the way they did their job. The bowlers set the tone for us on the first day. And then the way they, especially Mohammad Abbas and Mohammad Amir bowled, responded with the old ball [on Day Three]."
"First of all, I want to thank the Almighty [for this win]. The feeling cannot be described. No one was giving us a chance to win. But our bowlers and batsmen were phenomenal. I don't think such a young side had put up such a remarkable win at such a big venue before."
Sarfraz talked about the resurrection partnership that his team had to endure against, from Jos Buttler and Dom Bess late on the third day of the Test. Pakistan got England all out early on the day 4 eventually and ensured a nine-wicket by chasing the 66 runs that were required.
"After the yesterday's session we told our players that this is the beauty of Test cricket,One session can change the game. We couldn't pick up four wickets in two and a half hours [yesterday]. Today, we picked them in four overs."
Sarfraz's echoing of the Ireland game's importance purely comes from the fact that the hosts playing their maiden Test were extremely competitive with the ball, bat and in the field across 4 days. It gave Pakistan a good tough grind early and wisen them for the bigger challenge.
"We were lacking in both batting and bowling in the Malahide Test. During our two-day warm-up game against Leicester, we talked to our bowlers that if we have to take wickets in England we need to pitch the ball up. Credit to the bowlers, they bowled really well and followed the plan. How Abbas and Hasan Ali bowled on the first day of the Lord's Test that was the difference from the Malahide Test. Malahide Test was the perfect match before this big Test match."
"We had made some adjustments from the Malahide Test, We knew the slip cordon would have to stand a little back here. And, the way we have fielded was tremendous. Asad Shafiq took a brilliant catch of Jos Buttler. The ball was coming really quickly at him. But, he did well. It is really important that the boys are taking such catches."
Sarfraz and his boys have the opportunity to make history in the next Test match at Headingley. He is very excited about it and looks forward to another challenging game away from home.
"Leeds Test is a very important match for us and we will try to perform in all three formats ... We will try to win it and win the series."