Babar Azam says Pakistan 'not up to the mark' in first England Test

ReutersSports Desk
December 05, 2022

We had a golden chance to win this Test, but session by session we kept losing wickets, Babar Azam says

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England's Ben Stokes (L) shakes hands with Pakistan's captain Babar Azam after their victory at the end of the fifth and final day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and England at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, in Rawalpindi on December 5, 2022. — AFP

England handed a 74-run defeat to Pakistan in Rawalpindi Monday to win the first Test on a lifeless wicket, prompting skipper Babar Azam to say that his side did not live up to the task.

"We were not up to the mark," Babar rued during the post-match talk as England now lead the three-match series 1-0.

The skipper believes that if Pakistan did not lose back-to-back wickets, it could have defeated the visiting team.

"We had a golden chance to win this Test, but session by session we kept losing wickets," Babar added.

The skipper said the absence of pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi was felt in Pindi's Test and also noted that he wasn't aware whether Haris Rauf would be able to join the side in Multan.

"Haris Rauf's injury is serious," he said.

Right-arm pacer Rauf will be unavailable for Multan Test after the physios advised complete rest for the next ten days following an injury on the fourth day of the first Test against England.

In his post-match talk, England captain Ben Stokes praised his team, who had been infected with a virus in the lead up to the Test.

"A few days ago we were running around trying to start on time," Stokes said referring to a virus which affected several England players.

"So credit to the group for coming here, turning up under the weather [...] What we've had to deal with coming in makes this win even better."

Match report

England pulled off a stunning 74-run victory over Pakistan in the first Test today, claiming the final wicket in rapidly fading light to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

The visitors amassed 657 in their first innings and declared their second on 264-7, setting Pakistan an improbable victory target of 343 on a docile track in Rawalpindi.

Pakistan fought gamely and reached 268 before being dismissed in an absorbing final session, Saud Shakeel top-scoring for the hosts with 76.

Mohammad Rizwan made 46 and Azhar Ali scored 40 with an injured finger but they could only delay the inevitable.

Pakistan's last pair of Naseem Shah and Mohammad Ali resisted for nearly nine overs before the former fell lbw to Jack Leach barely 10 minutes before the scheduled end of play.

The second Test in Multan begins on Friday.

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