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Pakistan coach warns against complacency in 2nd test vs SA

February 1, 2021 GMT
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Pakistan's bating coach Younis Khan, right, talks with Fawad Alam during a practice session at the Pindi Stadium, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. Pakistan and South Africa will play second cricket test match in Rawalpindi, starting on Feb. 4. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
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Pakistan's bating coach Younis Khan, right, talks with Fawad Alam during a practice session at the Pindi Stadium, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. Pakistan and South Africa will play second cricket test match in Rawalpindi, starting on Feb. 4. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq doesn’t want his team to get complacent ahead of this week’s second test match against South Africa.

The home side fought back from 27-4 in its first innings at Karachi to beat the Proteas by seven wickets and take a 1-0 lead the two-match series. The second test starts at Pindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday.

Yasir Shah and 34-year-old left-arm spinner Nauman Ali, playing in his first test match, shared 14 wickets between them against a struggling South Africa batting line-up.

“It was a much-needed victory,” Misbah said. “The team came back from a difficult position, but we don’t want to be complacent. South Africa is a tough team and we know they will come back hard at us.”

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Since taking over as head coach in 2019, Misbah has lost three away test series — against Australia, England and New Zealand — but his Pakistan side has beaten less formidable teams like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at home.

Misbah and bowling coach Waqar Younis were summoned by the Pakistan Cricket Board after the team lost a test series 2-0 in New Zealand last month. Both coaches were given another chance, but their longer-term futures were tied to the outcome of the current home series against South Africa.

“My focus is on this series,” Misbah said. “We will put all our energies in this test match and see how we can win. Other things are uncontrollable and there is no point in thinking about it.”

Middle-order batsman Fawad Alam’s dream return to test cricket played a key role in Pakistan putting up a formidable total of 378 in the first innings after South Africa was bowled out for 220 inside two sessions on the first day.

Left-handed Alam, playing in only his eighth test match in 11 years, made a gritty 109 and revived Pakistan after a top-order collapse with Faheem Ashraf and Azhar Ali also scoring useful half centuries.

But the conditions in Rawalpindi will be much cooler than they were in Karachi and Misbah said the team may change its bowling lineup to include four fast bowlers and only one spinner.

The dry pitch in Karachi gave the two Pakistan spinners plenty of assistance, but Misbah was not sure if he could get a similar type of wicket and conditions in Rawalpindi.

If Pakistan opts for a fourth fast bowler, Haris Rauf is a possible option to make his test debut in his hometown.

“Haris is bowling well with the old ball,” Misbah said. “If the need arise we will see him.”

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