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Asif wants Pakistan to learn from Morgan

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-08-04 19:19:55
Asif wants Pakistan to learn from Morgan

BIRMINGHAM: Mohammad Asif has urged Pakistan`s batsmen to follow the example of England`s Eoin Morgan as the tourists look for a series-levelling win in the second Test here at Edgbaston.

Pakistan suffered a 354-run thrashing in last week`s first of four Tests at Trent Bridge, in a match where no top four batsman on either side made a fifty in any of the four innings.

But former Ireland left-hander Morgan, batting at No 6, defied the swing-friendly conditions that saw England fast bowler James Anderson take a career-best 11 for 71, with a maiden Test century of 130 in the first innings.

Morgan`s stand of 219, an England fifth-wicket record against Pakistan, with Paul Collingwood, who made 82, was the decisive partnership of the match.

Pakistan fast bowler Asif, who took five for 77 in England`s first innings 354, told reporters at Edgbaston here on Wednesday: "He (Morgan) played excellently on the first day.

"He came in under pressure at 118 for four and he just left it (the ball) for one hour. Collingwood took his time too and our batsmen needed to take their time and see off the good bowlers."

Just hours after that match - which ended with Pakistan dismissed for 80, their lowest total against England - the tourists ended Mohammad Yousuf`s international exile following an indefinite ban imposed after he led the team on their winless tour of Australia earlier this year.

They also dropped leg-spinner Danish Kaneria from their squad following poor match figures of one for 171.

Pakistan captain Salman Butt, speaking before the decision to recall Yousuf had been announced, insisted his side ought to stick with the likes of young batsmen Azhar Ali and Umar Amin, who both made their debuts in last month`s first Test against Australia at Lord`s and featured in the subsequent three-wicket win over Ricky Ponting`s men at Headingley.

"How many wins have Pakistan had with the people who were previously playing? Had we been winning with them in the team in the past two years then it could have been a mistake (to omit them)," Butt said.

A further complicating factor is that the 35-year-old Yousuf, who averages more than 53 in Tests, is not expected to arrive in England until Thursday -- just a day before the second Test is due to start here on Friday.

Even for a batsman with Yousuf`s record, to come into a Test `cold` is asking a lot.

It was at Edgbaston, roared on by fans from the local Asian community, where Pakistan beat Australia in two Twenty20 internationals last month.

Asif said Twenty20 was a format that came easily to Pakistan, in contrast to Test cricket.

"This is what we play in the street so this is one of our natural strengths. We were playing this when we were young -- 10, eight-over matches.

"But we need to learn how to handle the pressure over five days. We can win Tests if we win each session -- Twenty20 is just one session."

England have concerns regarding star batsman Kevin Pietersen, who has now gone 22 innings without a Test century.

But England coach Andy Flower didn`t mind seeing batsmen work for their runs in Nottingham, in contrast to the recent second Test in Colombo where Sri Lanka made 642 for four declared only for India to reply with 707.

Conditions at Edgbaston could well be similar to those at Trent Bridge but Flower said: "Those types of pitches and the swinging ball make it a fascinating battle between bat and ball. I enjoyed watching it myself and the spectators must have loved it."

Once more Pakistan find themselves playing a Test against the backdrop of a national tragedy, after roughly 1,500 people were killed by floods in northwest and central parts of the country.

The first Test took place after 152 people died in an airplane crash near Islamabad, Pakistan`s capital city.

Asif said victory at Edgbaston would help raise morale amongst fans in a country which has a passion for cricket few others can match.

"We disappointed in the last match and we need a fightback for them."

BDST: 1711 HRS, AUGUST 05, 2010

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