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‘Match is evenly balanced,’ batting coach Yousuf on Multan Test

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MULTAN: Pakistan batting coach Mohammad Yousuf asserted Multan Test to be equally balanced between the two sides as Pakistan finished at 198/4 at the conclusion of the third day’s action.

Yousuf, while talking to the media following the conclusion of the third day’s play and predicted the outcome of the ongoing Multan Test.

“What I’m seeing right now is that this match is 50-50. Look, a Test match goes this way, in the first session we lost three wickets and in the next session we got a partnership between Imam and Saud, both played very well and put England under pressure,” said Yousuf.

“But, the wicket that fell four overs before the stumps, brought England back in the game. Otherwise, if you look at the situation of this match, if Imam didn’t get out then England would be under even more pressure and even it will not be a 50-50 situation.

“It is a part of the game and the beauty of Test cricket is that it goes session by session and more importantly, such tense matches are important to keep Test cricket alive.”

On a question regarding whether it was a conscious effort from the hosts to play with a better run rate, Yousuf claimed that it has always been discussed in the camp but in the end, we have to play according to the situation of the match.

“Look, it is often discussed in the camp with the players and we offer them since they all are professional players but sometimes the situation or wicket is such that you can not score freely,” Yousuf shared.

“If you look at this series, for example, they have been playing at a much higher rate than us but if we consider our requirements then we’ve been going accordingly in the last four innings and that is a good sign for everyone,” he maintained.

On a question regarding wicket-keeper batter, Mohammad Rizwan’s struggling patch in his last five Tests and whether he should be rested for the Karachi Test and replaced by former captain Sarfaraz Ahmer, batting coach Yousuf claimed it is not in his domain.

“Since I started working with the cricket board, around two years ago and have been with the team for the last eight to ten months, so one thing is really clear that everyone would work by staying in his domain,” answered Yousuf.

“And that is a good thing, I won’t go in anyone’s domain, no one would come into mine. So, I do not think that this question belongs to my domain,” he concluded.

It is pertinent to mention that a vital 108-run partnership between Imam-ul-Haq and Saud Shakeel anchored Pakistan to 198/4 at the stumps on day three, requiring another 157 runs to square off a series-levelling victory.

Pakistan opener Imam, who came out to bat at number five perished in the closing minutes of the third day’s action after scoring a fighting half-century.

Whereas, Saud stood firm with his unbeaten 54 and will resume the run chase with Faheem Ashraf (3*) on an anticipated decisive day of the second Test.

READ: Imam, Saud anchor Pakistan to 198/4 at stumps after brief collapse 

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