Azhar Ali admitted that Pakistan are under pressure to perform in the second Test at Abu Dhabi, after failing to finish off the series opener in Dubai.
Chasing the impregnable target in the final innings on a turning pitch, the Australian batting line-up put their heads down and focussed hard on their defense versus the likes of Yasir Shah and Bilal Asif.
That is how Usman Khawaja scored his first Test hundred in Asia and amassed an outstanding knock of 141. The effort was followed by Travis Head (72) and the admirable leader Paine himself, who stayed till the end for his solid knock of 61 to save the Test match.
Paine should be and is proud of his team but knows it needs to be more concerned about the overall game, where they were largely dominated by the Sarfraz Ahmed led home team.
"I can’t say if the pressure will be more on Pakistan or Australia but we are the home side and obviously people expect us to win and so there is pressure," Azhar Ali was quoted saying, “However, having said that these are favourable conditions for us and we have to make the most of it. Pressure is always different in every match and obviously this is a decider," he stressed, "Being the home team we have to win it and we will enter the field thinking that. We will look to play positive cricket and hopefully, the result will go our way,"
Amidst calls for changes in the side and questions over his own form with the bat, Azhar cleared, “When playing for Pakistan one has to be ready for everything, I have always believed in that and whatever the team management decides or the captain decides, I will be ready to do that,” and reiterated that the team management is disappointed with the Day 5 performance in the first Test, “We are not disheartened but, yes, disappointed, obviously after dominating the Test match throughout and then not winning it.”
"Unfortunately we couldn’t win but I think we also have to give credit to the Australians as well as they showed resilience and kept fighting till the end,” he signed off.
The second Test starts on Tuesday, October 16.
(Inputs from Indian Express)