JOHANNESBURG: Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said on Monday he was determined to find a solution to his team’s problems against fast, short-pitched bowling.
Speaking after South Africa completed a 3-0 series clean sweep by winning the third Test by 107 runs at the Wanderers Stadium, Arthur said he wanted to build a team able to play in all conditions by the time they started their campaign in the world Test championship in September.
“We play Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates in September then we play Australia in Australia straight after that,” he said. “We have to have our skill sets perfect to manage the bouncing ball. I want to get our batsmen into Australia three or four weeks early, to have camps there to get them ready.”
Man of the series Duanne Olivier sparked a Pakistan collapse as the tourists lost their remaining seven wickets for 120 runs to be bowled out for 273 at lunch on the fourth day.
Olivier effectively ended Pakistan’s hopes when he took two wickets off successive balls in the third over of the morning.
Arthur singled out Babar Azam, Shan Masood and Asad Shafiq as batsmen who had played well during the series and he gave qualified support to Sarfraz Ahmed, whose captaincy was questioned by Pakistani media.
“This question always arises at the end of a series,” said Arthur. “Sarfraz goes from strength to strength. He wants to lead from the front. I thought his wicketkeeping has been outstanding. What we need is to get a good core of leaders around him. If we can do that he’ll go from strength to strength.”
Sri Lanka next up for Proteas
South African stand-in captain Dean Elgar praised the commitment of his players. “Three-nil is what we asked from the guys and we have achieved that. We are halfway to our goals for the season. We want to achieve the same feat against Sri Lanka (in February).”
Elgar stressed, though, that South Africa did not take Pakistan lightly. “We know they are a good team. We are very fortunate to have that arsenal of four fast bowlers.”
Olivier took 24 wickets in the three-Test series at an average of 14.71 and he made the crucial breakthrough early on Monday.
Azam received a fast, lifting ball angled in towards his throat, which he gloved to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock. Azam (22) had helped Shafiq add 58 for the fourth wicket.
Sarfraz was then bowled first ball. Seemingly expecting another short-pitched delivery from Olivier, he was deep in his crease when he had his off stump knocked back by a fast, full delivery.
With Vernon Philander gaining unpredictable bounce from a good length just outside off stump, Shafiq advanced down the pitch and was caught at second slip off a ball which seamed away from him.
Shafiq had taken his overnight score of 48 to 65, made off 71 balls with 11 fours.
Shadab Khan batted well to make 47 not out before the match ended when Mohammad Abbas was run out after a mix-up.