Let me assure you that, despite our top-order falling in a heap in the first two sessions, it was a very good batting track at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Thursday. We’ve heard reports that the nature of the wicket is changing, and though I did not figure in the 1999 Test here, I think it’s the same old track.
That was the reason we decided to bat first after winning toss, despite having three pacemen in our ranks.
In winters in Delhi, there is often the early morning fog and dew, and that was the case on the first day of the first Test as well, but the fact is that we did not bat well at all and found ourselves in deep trouble.
We do have some experienced players in middle order, and unfortunately, they could not play a really substantial innings and we were in trouble.
Thus we are quite happy with the way we came back into the match in the third session.
I think that on this track, anyone who is patient, sending the bad balls away, stands a good chance of playing a long innings. And that’s exactly what Misbah-ul-Haq did.
He has not played too much Test cricket, and this was his first half-century, and definitely it’s not the last one.
He is a very good batsman who has proved himself in both one day internationals as well as the Twenty20 arena, and I think he has the potential and the game to do well in Test cricket as well.
His was a very patient knock, but it was a very pleasant surprise to see Mohammad Sami bat the way he did. His innings proved that if you have the will, you can stay in and get the runs.
Now, what kind of a total would we be looking for?
Well, it’s too early to say for there are still many sessions to go, and we would want Misbah, along with the other batsmen, to bat on and on.
What I can definitely say is that I’ll go for broke when it’s our turn to bowl — even if we have a relatively small total, we’ll attack, because that’s the only way to win a Test.
I’m not happy with the way I lost my wicket — I thought I’d attack right from the start and get some runs, but it did not work. Mujhe wicket par kuchh waqt guzaarna chahiye thha, and runs would have come.
The mood in the dressing room at the end of the day was quite positive — we are happy with the way we’ve come back, koi masla nahin hai… We know that we’ve recovered well from a crisis and are still in a position to add useful runs at the end. Runs that will help us bowlers. Then, when we get the ball, we will try to strike back hard.
(Shoaib Akhtar, Pak pacer, on his plans for Friday)