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“This South African unit is quite resilient”
Despite being ecstatic with Pakistan’s seven-wicket win in the first Test against South Africa in Abu Dhabi, head coach Dav Whatmore has acknowledged that the Proteas will not go down without a fight in the second Test in Dubai.
“This South African unit is quite resilient,” Whatmore said. “I’ve had first hand experience in Sri Lanka where they lost by an innings in Galle and came back to win in Kandy.
“I think there was a drawn game in Colombo so it was 1-1 in the series, so you leave them off at your peril.”
This was South Africa’s first Test defeat since December 2011 and they are also in danger of losing their first Test series since being beaten by Sri Lanka in 2006.
“Well 1-0 is just as good as I think because a hard fought draw is also very important for any team, having been 1-0 up in the series, but we enter the game to win,” Whatmore said.
Whatmore revealed he had no doubts Pakistan would bounce back after their disastrous tour of Zimbabwe last month, which saw them lose a Test match and drop to sixth on the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test team rankings.
However, thanks to their win over South Africa, who are the number one Test team in the world, Pakistan will move up to fourth place on the rankings, regardless of the outcome of the second Test.
“I wasn’t surprised we did well, people leading up to this series in Pakistan were alluding to the fact that we lost against Zimbabwe and here you are going to play the No. 1 team in the world, no chance,” Whatmore said. “But that was never the case, in my mind I knew that we can be competitive.”
The Pakistan coach also admitted that the national team were much more prepared this time round after they suffered a humiliating 3-0 whitewash against the Proteas in February.
“I’ve alway said we’re better prepared against this opposition than we were the last time we played them in South Africa notwithstanding their number one ranking,” Whatmore said. “That conditions are different that’s pretty obvious and we’ve had a slight change of personnel in the eleven I think it’s a combination of those reasons that gave us a good competitive effort over four days.”
Meanwhile, South Africa coach Russell Domingo conceded that the Proteas had batted well under par throughout the first Test.
“That’s why we lost the Test, we couldn’t stretch our first innings because if you look at the stats in Dubai and Abu Dhabi the first innings sets the game, so a lot of questions can be asked of the bowlers but it was ultimately the batters who let us down,” Domingo said.
Domingo is also hoping South Africa pull their socks up and showcase everything they have got in the second Test.
“Look, the South African side play a certain way over a period of time and we know we were outplayed and we know we need to improve, the plans won’t change massively but we need to execute them a lot better,” Domingo added. “It’s never ideal to start your Test coaching career with a loss but that’s happened, its easy to just win, win and win, but that’s the challenge that you are looking forward to take on.”
Following the conclusion of the Test series, Pakistan and South Africa will play five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals.