Misbah reckons win over Australia best ever

Published November 3, 2014
Misbah-ul-Haq jubilates after scoring a one century during the fourth day of the second test cricket match between Pakistan and Australia in Abu Dhabi. — AFP
Misbah-ul-Haq jubilates after scoring a one century during the fourth day of the second test cricket match between Pakistan and Australia in Abu Dhabi. — AFP

ABU DHABI: Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul Haq rates the 2-0 series win over Australia as his country's “best ever” considering his team were without three key bowlers.

Ace spinner Saeed Ajmal and frontline pacemen Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz were all missing as Pakistan inflicted a 356-run defeat on Australia — their biggest win in Test cricket — in Abu Dhabi.

That gave Pakistan their first series win over Australia in 20 years, prompting Misbah to rate the win the “best ever”, slightly ahead of Pakistan's 3-0 rout of then world number one England, also in United Arab Emirates in 2012.

“It's really tough to rank both series, but considering the fact that we had far better bowling combination for England and this time despite having an inexperienced bowling line up nobody could have thought we can turned around and beat Australia so this you can understand is a big achievement,” said Misbah.

Ajmal was suspended due to an illegal bowling action while Riaz and Junaid were injured. Spinners Zulfiqar Babar, who had played two Tests before the series, and leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who made debut in the first Test, shared 26 wickets between them.

The win also put Misbah equal with Pakistan's most successful Test captains — Imran Khan and Javed Miandad — with 14 wins.

Misbah credited the turnaround, after losing the preceding one-day series against Australia 3-0, to team effort.

“I think we got the belief (to win) that's why we delivered and everyone performed. The way we played as a batting unit you could say there was belief and this could be the reason we performed the way we did,” said Misbah, declared man-of-the-match for his fiery 56-ball hundred which followed his 101 in the first innings.

Misbah equalled the record for the fastest Test century held by West Indian Vivian Richards and set a new record for the fastest half-century off just 21 balls.

Younis Khan was declared man-of-the-series for his 468 runs, which included a century in each innings in the first Test, which Pakistan won by 221 runs in Dubai, and 213 in the second match.

Misbah said it had looked a difficult proposition without their frontline bowlers.

“Obviously it looked difficult without Ajmal, [Abdur] Rehman, Riaz and Junaid but everybody performed well and it was remarkable.” The win over Australia also lifted Pakistan to third in Test rankings from sixth before the series, an improvement Misbah cherished.

“It's really good to be up there in ranking and that could really give you great confidence and I think good thing about that we are going to play another series against New Zealand .. if we can really continue playing like this will further help us in our campaign in the World Cup,” said Misbah.

Pakistan next play New Zealand in a three-match series, with the first Test starting in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

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