BIRMINGHAM: Mohammad Asif has urged Pakistan’s batsmen to follow the example of England’s Eoin Morgan as the tourists look for a series-levelling win in the second Test here at Edgbaston.
Pakistan suffered a 354-run thrashing in last week’s first of four Tests at Trent Bridge, in a match where no top four batsman on either side made a fifty in any of the four innings.
But former Ireland left-hander Morgan, batting at No 6, defied the swing-friendly conditions that saw England fast bowler James Anderson take a career-best 11 for 71, with a maiden Test century of 130 in the first innings.
Morgan’s stand of 219, an England fifth-wicket record against Pakistan, with Paul Collingwood, who made 82, was the decisive partnership of the match.
Pakistan fast bowler Asif, who took five for 77 in England’s first innings 354, told reporters at Edgbaston here on Wednesday: “He (Morgan) played excellently on the first day.
“He came in under pressure at 118 for four and he just left it (the ball) for one hour. Collingwood took his time too and our batsmen needed to take their time and see off the good bowlers.”
Just hours after that match — which ended with Pakistan dismissed for 80, their lowest total against England — the tourists ended Mohammad Yousuf’s international exile following an indefinite ban imposed after he led the team on their winless tour of Australia earlier this year.
They also dropped leg-spinner Danish Kaneria from their squad following poor match figures of one for 171.
Conditions at Edgbaston could well be similar to those at Trent Bridge but Flower said: “Those types of pitches and the swinging ball make it a fascinating battle between bat and ball. I enjoyed watching it myself and the spectators must have loved it.”
Once more Pakistan find themselves playing a Test against the backdrop of a national tragedy, after roughly 1,500 people were killed by floods in northwest and central parts of the country.
The first Test took place after 152 people died in an airplane crash near Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital city.
Asif said victory at Edgbaston would help raise morale amongst fans in a country which has a passion for cricket few others can match. “We disappointed in the last match and we need a fightback for them.”