Sarfaraz surprises nation as Pakistan crushes England

Sarfaraz surprises nation as Pakistan crushes England


LONDON: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said he felt both surprised and proud after his inexperienced side outplayed England during a dominant nine-wicket win in the first Test at Lord´s.

Victory, completed before lunch on the fourth day, put Pakistan 1-0 up in a two-match series ahead of the second Test at Headingley that starts on Friday.

Man-of-the-match Mohammad Abbas led Pakistan’s attack with an overall return of eight for 64, while four Pakistan batsmen hit fifties in a competitive first-innings 363. “Yes, I am very surprised,” said Sarfraz.

“If you look at the England team they are very experienced but I am proud of my players.”

“Ireland gave us a tough time and that helped us prepare for this Test,” Sarfraz added.

“We thought that even if we lose we should learn.”

As for Pakistan’s batting, Sarfraz said: “The ball was moving, so no credit is enough for the batsmen.”

Wicket-keeper Sarfraz led from the front in the field, holding an excellent diving catch to dismiss Dawid Malan on Saturday.

Meanwhile the modest Sarfraz, who led Pakistan to a brilliant victory over arch-rivals India in last year´s Champions Trophy one-day final across London at The Oval, played down his captaincy skills.

“I don´t have anything for self-analysis,” he said. “I shout and scream at my players — everything is right in front of you.”

Sarfraz instead praised coach Mickey Arthur, who took charge two years ago and promptly guided Pakistan to a 2-2 draw in a four-Test series in England, for “taking the players along with him” — something he had also tried to do as skipper.

Mohammad Amir has had both some of his best and worst days at Lord´s, getting on the honours board in 2010 in a Test where he was involved in a spot-fixing scandal that saw the Pakistan paceman jailed and banned from cricket for five years.

He returned to help beat England at Lord´s two years ago and was involved again in this win, Pakistan´s fifth Test-match victory at the ´home of cricket´.

The responsibility of being the senior bowler appeared to weigh heavily on the 26-year-old, however.

But after just one wicket in England´s first innings, lefty took four for 36 in the second.

Soon after the victory, Sarfaraz was asked for a brief match analysis and the Pakistan skipper cradled his son with him.

He called the historic victory a proud moment for him and his family. “It is a very proud moment for me and my family. You know he [son Abdullah] is my lucky charm. So, he’s always with me and I think it’s a great feeling for me,” Ahmed said.

The cutest moment was caught on camera seconds later when Sarfaraz junior grabbed the mic and mumbled, giving skipper and the interviewer a burst of laughter.


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