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  • 17 Apr
    Misbah-ul-Haq has hailed Pakistans bowlers for the effort they have put in to win matches on the slow and batting-friendly pitches they have often had to play on in the UAE. Pakistans 133-run win in the second Test against West Indies in Abu Dhabi was their eighth win in their last 11 Tests in their adopted home.Thanks to almighty Allah. It wasnt easy, Misbah said, after Pakistan sealed their tenth series win under his captaincy. I mean, on wickets like that, getting 20 wickets is always a challenge, and I think the bowlers just lived up to the expectations.They worked really hard, especially Yasir Shah [who had match figures of 10 for 210], and the fast bowlers also contributed well on this pitch, and I think that was a big achievement, getting 20 wickets on this pitch.Pakistan have developed a reputation for playing dour, attritional cricket under Misbah, and he said it was a necessary template to follow given the conditions the team played most of its matches in.I believe in, first, you just go there and assess the conditions and then, really, within your resources, [work out] how youre going to conduct your gameplan, Misbah said. If you just stay in your limits and execute your plans according to your strengths, then no matter what the conditions are, you could be successful.In the UAE especially, you cannot really change much about your planning, because [of the] slow pitches, and its really tough to get wickets here, and you have to grind oppositions sometimes. Thats simply the format you have to follow.But when youre playing in conditions like we did in England and were going to [in] New Zealand and Australia, obviously we need to change that. There the conditions are different. Were looking forward [to the tours], and obviously we have to play that kind of cricket there to win.The numbers support Misbahs contention. Teams that have won Tests in the UAE in the last 10 years have, on average, bowled 186 overs per match. In the rest of the world, they have had to bowl only 156 overs on average. And though West Indies lost both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, they batted for more than 200 overs in each match. They have only managed this two other times in 17 Tests since the start of 2015.Despite their record on the slow UAE pitches, Misbah said Pakistan would prefer playing on surfaces that offered a little more help for their spinners. Our spinners are our strength and with Yasir being a world-class bowler, we expect to have turning and spinning wickets but this pitch had nothing for the bowlers, he said. Today it was fifth day and still was flat and didnt do much but still our bowlers worked so hard to take 20 wickets and its a big achievement.Yasir bowled 67.4 overs in the match and got through far more bowling than the left-arm orthodox spinners Zulfiqar Babar (43) and Mohammad Nawaz (14). Misbah said this was because there was little help in the pitch for fingerspinners.In the first innings fast bowlers had to bowl more because at some stage there was a chance of reverse-swing and thats why spinners werent utilitied much, he said. Yasir, being a wristspinner, was helpful but both the left-armers didnt bowl much because of the pitch condition.Given the workloads the bowlers, Yasir in particular, got through, Misbah said it was natural that he didnt enforce the follow-on despite having a first-innings lead of 228.In every innings, you are fielding for over 100 overs, and I think bowling again with tired bodies will be tough, he said. Youve got to give your bowlers some time as its tough for fast bowlers in such conditions to bowl and you cant have Yasir Shah bowling 40 overs straight in two innings.You might get this but then again for the next match youve got to have a complete new XI. So understanding the conditions, weather [is important] and chasing 150 runs in fifth day will be tough, and that is the reason I didnt enforce the follow-on. Rather than pushing our bowlers, you bat and grind the opponent in full. Clearance Basketball Shoes . 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Of the things running through Neil Wagners mind when he walked out to bat with New Zealand on 169 for 8, 127 of them would have been about his own bowling. Thats how many short balls he sent down in the 39 overs he bowled in the first innings, and he knew they would be avenged.The 128th thought would have been that he at least did not have to deal with Morne Morkel as well.Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander were back in South Africas attack, but instead of Morkel, who is nursing a back injury, they had Kagiso Rabada as the third prong. As a trio, they offer swing, seam, pace, bounce and all-round relentlessness, which could end up working Morkel out of the mix altogether.Between Steyn and Philander, they found exactly the right lines and lengths to create confusion in the New Zealands batsmens minds. They dropped the ball outside off and then made it swerve away enough to flirt with the edge, or find it. Its like ringing a doorbell and then running away. Every time, the person inside will open the door just in case its not a prank.Even if New Zealand had got used to the trick, they had to cope with the home invasion. Rabada is more than the perfect first change, he is almost like a third opening bowler because he does things with the same intensity. He reaches speeds of 150kph regularly, bends his back to get extra bounce, and he varies his lengths to prevent anyone from settling.It so nice to be back in this space, Steyn said, after the three quicks had shared nine wickets to bowl New Zealand out for 214. Vernon is a phenomenal bowler. He has kept it so tight. To bowl with him, you feel free because you can do whatever you want and he is going to tick over at two runs an over. And then KG, hes bowling 150, he is hitting the deck and getting wickets. its a great partnership at the moment.So much so that the spinner, Dane Piedt, had almost been an afterthought, bowling only seven overs in New Zealands innings.Once Morkel returns to fitness, South Africa could seriously consider a four-pronged pace attack in seamer-friendly conditions. It would be tough on Dane Piedt, who is fast developing into the kind of support spinner that South Africa like having around, but they have alternatives. JP Duminy and Dean Elgar could do holding jobs with the only concern around that selection being what impact it would have on transformation targets.Exactly what these are has not been made public and Russell Domingo had said before the series that he had not received any instructions, but it is understood that CSA have agreed to field six players of colour with at least two black Africans. That number will be calculated over the course of a season, which means there may be times where they can change their dynamics to suit the situation.On lively surfaces, South Africa will be formidable if their strike force includes all four of Steyn, Philander, Rabada and Morkel, and it looks increasingly likely that Morkel will play second fiddle to Rabada, especially if the evidence of the third days play is anything to go on.Rabadas most aggressive spell came against Wagner, who would have known he had it coming, particularly since he has beenn the source of much needle so far.dddddddddddd This was Wagners homecoming and he wanted to make an impact. He hit Hashim Amla and JP Duminy with short balls and got one to whizz past Temba Bavumas ears, but that was nothing on what he did to Rabada, whom he bounced nine times.Although he did not cause any harm, he had breached the unwritten code enough times to know what was coming. He just did not know how much of it he would have to take.Would it be gentle to start with, good length on off stump? Would it be the quicker one that hurried him off his feet and forced him to play? Or would Rabada try to do some real damage immediately?It was a bouncer, pitching on middle and leg, and climbing towards Wagners head. His helmet jittered. Wagner did not.Rabada turned around, expressionless, and did it again. Faster, but not as furious. Wagner could watch it down the leg side and calm down. Until Rabada turned around and slipped in something different but just as dangerous.Faster still, at 149kph, full and tempting. Wagner met it on the full and bottom-edged. Hashim Amla claimed the catch at first slip. It turned out to be a bump ball. Rabada, once again, turned around, expressionless.Four more bouncers had Wagner hopping before Rabada made contact again. This time on the shoulder. Rabada thought he had found bat or at least glove. He was animated, he appealed, and when he was denied he asked for a review. The first replay showed that in his efforts to unsettle Wagner, Rabada had overstepped. It became moot point that the ball clipped the edge of the bat before hitting Wagners shoulder. As soon as Rabada saw he had not got the desired result, he fixed his expression and hurtled in again.The next ball was a yorker, which Wagner again turned into a full toss and punched down the ground. His punishment was over.Steyn bowled the next over, and peppered Wagner again. This time he took the bouncers on, and took 18 off the over. The South African camp was unimpressed, and felt he may have been better served grinding it out in support of Kane Williamson, who was scoring a battling half-century at the other end. He came out and backed away, Steyn said. If he wanted to be more courageous and brave, he would have been 30 off 90 and watched his captain get a hundred rather than take it on.Wagner may want to keep that in mind when he bats again. Then, he may also have to face some spin, with Steyn expecting Piedt to come into the game far more. The spinner will have to come into play and hopefully as the game goes on, there will be a little more for him, he said.There will definitely be more for Wagner. What started as a little pre-match hype about his return to his home ground has turned into some needle over the pronunciation of his Afrikaans surname and, by extension, of everything he does on the field. Things got a little bit heated and a few words were said, Doug Bracewell said. Its always going to happen.There will also definitely be more for South Africas new look attack, with or without Morkel. ' ' '