Whatmore recalls Pakistan’s fightback against England

Memories of a famous victory over England in last year’s Test series were fresh in the mind of Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore on Wednesday, after South Africa bowled his team out for just 99 in the second Test.

A year ago, despite England dismissing Pakistan for 99 all out, Pakistan went on to win the Test by 71 runs and complete a 3-0 whitewash against the then-No. 1 Test team in the world. Former Test opening batsman Mohsin Khan was Pakistan’s coach at the time, but he was replaced soon after the series by Australia’s Whatmore, who had also coached Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“It did cross my mind a couple of times,” said Whatmore, recalling Pakistan’s win against England.

“We still got to take (South Africa) wickets, that’s the first job and if we can do that in a reasonable amount of time then we need to bat … and bat.”

Pakistan’s unpredictable batting lineup succumbed to legspinner Imran Tahir’s career best 5-32 and the pace of Dale Steyn (3-38) within 2 hours 40 minutes. The performance was hard to believe after the same Pakistan XI had last week plundered 442 against the Proteas for a seven-wicket victory at Abu Dhabi, securing a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

Pakistan opening batsman Shan Masood, who made an impressive 75 in the first Test, and Azhar Ali survived for almost one and a half hour after Steyn had removed Khurram Manzoor off the second ball of the match. But Tahir bowled Masood and Ali was trapped leg before wicket by Morne Morkel after they negotiated the new ball _ much to Whatmore’s frustration.

“I’m pretty angry,” Whatmore said.

“You can’t spend time … and then get out the way they did…that’s a bit naughty.”

The coach blamed poor shot selection by the top order batsmen with captain Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq and Younis Khan all departing while playing reckless shots.

“I didn’t see too many demons (in the pitch) out there, we orchestrated a lot of our downfalls ourselves,” Whatmore said.

Looking ahead, Whatmore was already thinking about how much of a lead Pakistan could build in the second innings to put pressure on the top-ranked Test team in the world.

“I’m not sure, 150 came into my mind…” he said.

“It will be nice to have reasonable sort of bank of runs on board to allow our spinners to get back into the game, it’s a long way as yet but that’s the plan.”