Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has issued a warning for Sarfaraz Ahmed and company, saying that Australia will be a "dangerous" proposition in the second Test after they secured an improbable draw in the opening Test in Dubai.
Chasing the impregnable target of 462, the Aussie batsmen put their heads down and focussed hard on their defense against the likes of Yasir Shah and Bilal Asif.
Opener Usman Khawaja scored his first Test hundred in Asia and amassed an outstanding knock of 141. He was ably supported by debutant Travis Head (72) and skipper Tim Paine, who made 61 not out, as Australia avoided defeat by holding on with just two wickets remaining.
"Of course Australia will be dangerous after the fight they put up, no doubt about that," Arthur told AFP
"But I am confident that we are playing good enough cricket and we will come harder," he added.
Arthur, who took Pakistan’s coaching job in May 2016, said his players were hurting after they let go a golden opportunity to claim a 1-0 lead in the two-match Test series.
"For me it was really disappointing that we did not cross the line. But the good thing for us is that it has hurt the players as if we have lost and that for me is a good sign,” Arthur asserted.
"It shows that the boys are getting mentally tough and maturing and do not settle for second best any more, and that culture we want to create is getting through to our players and we will be raring to go in the second Test," he continued.
Pakistan dominated the opening Test, piling up a first innings total of 482 courtesy centuries from Mohammad Hafeez (126) and Haris Sohail (110) and then bowled out Australia for 202 with debutant off-spinner Bilal Asif taking 6 for 36.
"We certainly got some good runs in the first innings, golden runs as there were some good knocks. We then bowled well in the first innings but not very good in the second innings on a fifth day pitch," said Arthur.
"I think we have got to hand it to them, on a day five wicket with Yasir Shah and Abbas — two world class bowlers in your attack — we backed ourselves to win the Test. We can win nine times out of ten on a fifth day pitch but Khawaja played exceptionally well and Tim Paine played pretty well too and took away the game," he elaborated.
Arthur conceded skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed should have started with Mohammad Abbas on the fifth morning, after the seamer bamboozled Australia with three wickets in the last session of Day 4.
"I told Sarfraz that we should have gone with Abbas and Yasir but he had spoken to some senior players and they told him to bowl with Wahab Riaz. The reasoning they gave was that Wahab was supposed to bring that reverse swing into play and that there were some patches, but I think our best bowlers (Yasir and Abbas) should have been bowling early on," Arthur concluded.
(With AFP inputs)