Pakistan is in the series without a doubt: Lawson

Kolkata, Dec 4 (UNI) Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson, making it clear that the team was very much in the series, said they showed loads of character to have escaped defeat in this Test at eden gardens.

''I think character is exactly the right word. For much time on day three in this Test match we were in all sorts of trouble and the character of the three batsmen then and then again today there were few nerves, if you lose a few wickets in a hurry. But we showed a tons of character,'' he said in the post match briefing.

''We proved we were hard to bowl out and we are still in this series. We are feeling pretty good with where we are at right now as compared to two and half days ago when were in a lot of trouble.

''When you escape from games like that you learn a lot and you gain a lot, mentally in particular. It is an achievement to get out with a draw, a highly great achievement,'' he added.

''In the last 15 overs we only needed 11 an over to win. So I did actually mention it in the dressing room and the fact that Younis Khan was batting and he did play a sweep shot of his glove past the point last ball before the drinks break, I thought he must be thinking the same thing. Yes, I did think about it but we decided to play for time.'' he continued.

''I don't think we have the advantage because they are 1-0 up and that is a big advantage. The scoreboard lead is a nice one to have.

We are feeling that in the last Test match we can get something as Pakistan have done in the previous series.

''They had a win in Bangalore last time and they leveled the series. That's the belief in the dressing room because we had the courage and character to save this match. This is a big result for us today. This does lift our moral tremendously,'' he added. On the pitch, he said, ''I think we all expected the pitch to do a bit more on the fourth and fifth day. It was just the footholes that did something and it did hang together quite well so that made batting a little bit easier on the fourth and fifth day. I think it surprised a lot of us that it was so good for batting on the last day.'' ''I think it was not bad, the crowds were here, they loved it and we had tensions on the last day. Quite clearly we would have loved a pitch that does a bit more. But we don't play on concrete or artificial grass, we play on turf and grass which comes apart and that's what makes our game special. The curator provides what he does and the players have to play on it. It changes over five days, that's what you never want to change about cricket,'' he said.

''It's nice to get the balance right between the bat and ball.

It's a Test match that the people will remember for a long time, mostly the batting thing and character and courage and the result is a typical Test. The result doesn't matter a lot because the way it is played is very important,'' he added.

''Yes, the pitch played a part in the game but in the end it was a draw,'' he said.

Asked about his comments on the pitch before, he said, ''Obviously I was misquoted the other day, I was not criticizing the pitch I was just saying pitches all around the world have a bit more on the first couple of days. It did hang together well and India stuck with their job of bowling but the pitch didn't help a great deal and we batted appropriately.'' On whether it was a moral victory, he said, ''At 78 for 4, you know you had a lot of work to do but in our batting order we had a few down the order who had spent some time at the wicket in the first innings. So you can feel you can survive. And the two experienced players (Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf) batting in the middle, they did prove they were the two most experienced players.'' ''When you have people who have been in that situation before you always believe you can escape with a draw. You are obviously a bit nervous, but we felt that the pitch was still good enough for us to get through. Younis and Yousuf played like veterans and they are highly talented players. It took a lot to get through but they were good enough,'' he added.

On Shoaib Mallik, he said, ''We will wait till the last moment before we decided. We have been told that it is a two-week injury so that will be just about before the start of the Test match. We just need to look him after we get to Bangalore.'' ''Abdul Rauf is joining the team and Sarfaraz Ahmed is going back,'' he informed.

On the Indians dropping a few catches, he said, ''We put a couple down too. I think Kumble said in his presentation that catches win matches and that didn't surprise anybody.'' On India's chances in Australia, he said, ''Australia will be tough. Anybody touring Australia will find it tough because Australia is the best side for a lot of reasons. Playing on pitches like that will not prepare them for Australia . The pitches in Australia recently have been good batting pitches, they haven't been helped the bowlers too much also so that might help the Indians. But the bounce will be different and you got to play a different sort of game.'' UNI

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Story first published: Tuesday, December 4, 2007, 18:13 [IST]
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