SOUTHAMPTON: Pakistani skipper Azhar Ali has said there were “lots of positives” for his side despite their 1-0 series loss to England, adding that there is room for improvement but as a team, he is proud of the overall performance.
A three-match contest in which both the second and third Tests at Southampton were weather-affected draws ultimately hinged on England’s three-wicket win in the series opener at Old Trafford.
Pakistan who had not played international cricket for several months because of COVID-19 were the better side for much of the time in Manchester until, having reduced England to 117-5 chasing a target of 277, they were undone by a partnership of 139 between Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes.
But even though this was Pakistan’s first series defeat by England in a decade, the like of opening batsman Shan Masood, who made 156 in Manchester, and the pace trio of Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah all impressed at different stages.
It was wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, however, who was named Pakistan’s man of the series following an outstanding campaign behind the stumps that also saw him score 336 runs, including two fifties, at an average of over 40.
“There is great regret [at losing the first Test] but congratulations to England,” said Azhar following the finish of the third Test on Tuesday.
“There were lots of positives in our team — we played competitive cricket throughout the series. There is room for improvement but as a team, I am proud of how we fought.”