Pakistan batsman Shan Masood believes that their bowlers are capable of defending paltry 149 against South Africa in the Boxing Day Test at the misbehaving Centurion wicket on Friday (December 28).
Citing Pakistani bowlers’ show in the first innings of South Africa, as they took 4 wickets for 43 runs and eventually bowled the hosts out at 223, Masood said the bowlers can do magic for the Men in Green in Centurion.
However, he is disappointed with his team’s batting show here, as the hosts are comfortable to score, but they found it difficult and that was a bit of frustration for Pakistan.
He further said Pakistan bowler can still defend the total seeing the variable nature of the Centurion pitch and the proficiency of Pakistan's pace battery if the predicted thunderstorms for the Friday evening might not ruin the play, but they would have liked to have a target closer to 200 runs here.
Pakistan batsmen badly struggled to score runs at the prodigious Centurion track as they managed to post only 181 in the first innings thanks to Babar Azam’s 71, while none of the batsmen were able to hit the Proteas bowlers in the second innings apart from Imam ul Haq (57) and Masood (65) -who helped the touring side to post a respectable total of 190 in Centurion against the hosts here.
Masood said “Without a shadow of a doubt” when he was asked whether the total is defendable. He continued, “If you look at the first innings, we had South Africa at 43 for 4. But ideally, we would have liked to have a target that was closer to 200 runs.”
It was Pakistan's second worst in any country and Masood said: “[As a batsman] you are never in on this wicket which is an advantage for us as a bowling unit. If you look closely, there is a lot of grass which covers the cracks. The ball deviates from it. There's a lot of uneven bounce. I was surprised to see it keeping low last day as well. There was a bit of frustration. You wish one of you partners will bat well. And, they were all good enough to get runs on this wicket.”
On Centurion wicket, the 29-year-old said, “The track is certainly variable and with the new ball you would like to be accurate and make the batsman play as much as possible. Cracks are doing a bit. The ball is staying low as well. It is all about picking early wickets and stopping the flow of boundaries. We give ourselves a good chance to win the game.”
Masood signed off by saying, “If you look at the bigger picture, I am disappointed. If Imam and I could have batted for another hour, if number five and six could have batted after Tea for another hour then 65 could have been a bigger score. You like to think when you are set that you can go and make it big. But, this is international cricket and at the end of the day, big scores count. If we win the match, I will be happy about it [scoring 65]. But, as a batsman, you are never happy with the amount of runs you get.”
(With Cricbuzz Inputs)