Southampton, Aug 19: Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has praised his side's commitment and belief in the second Test against England here following a heart-breaking defeat in the series opener.
"It was always going to be difficult to fight back after what happened in Manchester but the players' commitment and belief was outstanding. We have the belief that we can come back in the final Test and it's so important to us that Pakistan supporters back home and around the world share that belief with us," Misbah wrote in his column for the Pakistan Cricket Board website.
Pakistan recovered from 158 for six to 236 all out and then had England reeling at 110 for four when the rain-affected match ended. Just a little over 143 overs of play was possible due to bad light and thunderstorms.
"It was another brave decision to bat first in the second Test given the conditions but everybody took on the challenge. Overall I'm really happy with the way the team batted. Everybody just tried to hang in and score runs.
"The partnerships involving Abid Ali, Azhar Ali and Babar Azam at the top of the order were really pleasing and encouraging, in testing conditions," wrote Pakistan's most successful Test captain.
Misbah opined the bowlers' performance in England's short first innings would give his side the required momentum going in the third Test, which will commence here on Friday.
"We expected the pitch to deteriorate towards the end of the match and it did. Even with just a couple of hours of sun at the end of the match, Yasir Shah was able to challenge the England batsmen," he said.
"The seamers also bowled really well and I was really happy with the way we finished the match. That last session, even as the game drifted towards a draw, gives us a lot of confidence going into the last Test."
Misbah praised wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan's gutsy and fighting 72 that came off 222 balls and included seven fours. According to Misbah, fitness was one of the key factors behind Rizwan's performance.
"Rizwan fought really hard so that we, at least, had a decent score to put a little bit of pressure on England. He showed glimpses in the first Test, when his wicketkeeping was also wonderful, and against Australia in Brisbane last November.
"Rizwan has great game awareness and we're really happy with the way he's performing. It's important that players, especially the new ones, show they can perform under pressure and his innings in Southampton will give him a lot of confidence," he said.
On the ongoing debate about bad light and potential use of the pink ball, Misbah wrote: "There has been a lot of discussion about the way bad light affected this Test.
"In these unusual circumstances, there is room to debate these issues but the pink ball is very different to the red ball and I'm not sure that using it for a whole match – in daylight – is a good idea.
"I think most people prefer to see Test cricket played in the conventional way, which means with a red ball – that's the beauty of the game."