‘Pitch should’ve been more supportive,’ Saqlain on England carnage

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq commented on England’s baton charge on host bowlers as they amassed a mammoth 506/4 on the first day of the Rawalpindi Test and suggested that the pitch should have been more supportive. 

Saqlain, in a press conference, following a dominant first day by the English team as four of their batters scored centuries before putting up the highest total on the opening day of a Test match, credited them for their brilliance before complaining about the nature of the pitch.

“England played very well today and we could not bowl according to our plan. There was also a problem with the pitch and I think it should have been more supportive. They just outclassed us and we must credit them,” Saqlain said.

On a question regarding Pakistan’s bowling attack and its struggle against aggressive English batters, Saqlain once again emphasized ace pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi’s absence and asserted these were the best available bowlers.

“Shaheen was injured, all we had were these bowlers and we were relying on them. They are also good, their performance was also good but we just couldn’t bowl as per plan,” said Saqlain.

“Muhammad Ali was performing well in domestic cricket, while Abrar and Zahid were also putting up wonderful performances in the camp. We strive to be fair in the selection of the team.

“Both the players were bowling brilliantly in the camp and were doing what they were supposed to do. We needed a bowler who can bowl in long spells with Haris and Naseem. But credit goes to England who had planned well against us.”

Saqlain then went on to respond to a question regarding the outcome of the ongoing Test and emphasized not to talk about it on the first day.

“No doubt England played well on the first day but we should think much about the future of the Rawalpindi Test. This Test will become interesting in upcoming days. It was their day and they outplayed us,” Saqlain concluded.

It is pertinent to mention that England batters Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Harry Brook all scored centuries to power their side broke a 112-year-old record as they finished the opening day at 506/4.

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