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Monday Aug 10 2020
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Sarfaraz backs Azhar after backlash over defeat in Manchester Test

In a tweet, the former captain encouraged Ali, saying that Pakistan will bounce back since this was only the first match against the host team. Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@SarfarazA__54

Former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed has backed skipper Azhar Ali after the backlash over defeat in the first Test against England.

Azhar is under fire from cricket legends and experts over his failure to grab the opportunity to win the Manchester Test despite being on top and in a better position against the host team.

In a tweet, the former captain encouraged Ali, saying that "Pakistan will bounce back" since this was only the first match against the host team.

England, chasing a target of 277 — only one higher total has been achieved to win in the fourth innings of a Test at the Manchester ground — were in trouble at 117-5.

But a sixth-wicket stand of 139 between the player of the match Chris Woakes, who finished on 84 not out, and Jos Buttler (75) changed the course of the game during Saturday's fourth day.

It was a particularly bitter defeat for Pakistan as they had been the better side for much of this Test.

Bowling legend Wasim Akram had also questioned Test skipper Azhar Ali's captaincy and believes that the latter "missed a trick" on numerous occasions as the side were handed a three-wicket defeat on the first Test against England, Sky Sports reported.

"Winning and losing is part of cricket, but I think our captain missed a trick quite a few times in this game, as far as his leadership is concerned," he said.

Chasing a target of 277 in the 4th innings England was struggling at 117/5 but Jos Buttler's 75 and Chris Woakes' unbeaten 84 saw the hosts dominate on the first Test.

Akram was puzzled over the team's inability to dismiss Woakes despite having bowled out the hosts for 219 in the first innings.

The former skipper felt that there was no real effort from the bowlers to break the partnership at a crucial time.

"It [the loss] will hurt the Pakistan team and the cricket lovers in Pakistan," he said.