Clarke shares blame for Pakistan loss
Sep 01 2012 - 10:17:42
Australia skipper Michael Clarke admitted on Saturday that he had been wrong in choosing to bat first against Pakistan in the second one-day international between the two teams in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Pakistan thumped Australia by seven wickets to level the three-match series at 1-1, leaving the propspect of an intriguing third match in Sharjah on Monday. Australia won the first match by four wickets in Sharjah.
Clarke said that electing to bat first after winning the toss had backfired.
"We trained here and there was nowhere near that much dew, so it was certainly a surprise for all of us once we walked out to field," Clarke said. "So it was the wrong decision after winning the toss to bat first."
Sparked by a resolute 61 from Michael Hussey, Australia posted a score of 248-9 in their 50 overs withr Pakistani off-spinner Saeed Ajmal taking four wickets for 32 runs.
Australia's bowlers then found the ball hard to grip because of the excessive dew, with the pace pair of Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson in particular struggling.
Opener Nasir Jamshed smashed a 98-ball 97 to put Pakistan on track before Azhar Ali (59 not out) and Misbah-ul Haq (39 not out) helped Pakistan chase down the target with 6.2 overs to spare.
"I think full credit to Pakistan. I thought they played really well, they bowled really well, then they came out and played really well with the bat, so I don't want to take anything away from Pakistan, they outplayed us," said Clarke.
"We were off (on Friday), we didn't play as well as we'd have liked, no doubt about that, but we beat Pakistan in the first one-dayer in conditions we're about to go back and play in, so we can take a lot of confidence out of that."
Misbah agreed it was a good toss to lose.
"It was a good toss to lose," said Misbah. "Both the teams were not sure about what was going to happen because there wasn't so much dew on Thursday night. But dew was a major factor on Friday."
Misbah praised youngsters Jamshed and Ali.
"The way Jamshed and Azhar batted it made it easier for us. Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez are aggressive players and the start was the key for us, it set us to chase that total," said Misbah of the 66-run start to the innings.
Misbah hopes his team builds on the win in the next match.
"It depends on what sort of wicket we get and one more thing we have to keep in mind is that if we bowl second then there will be problem for the spinners as well, so we need to build on the win," he said.
Pakistan will wait on decide on the fitness of allrounder Shahid Afridi, who missed Friday's game because of a back injury.
Australian paceman Starc complained of a chest injury and is an unlikely starter for the series-deciding match.