Pakistan retains winning combination for 1st test
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan has retained the same 16-member squad for the first test against New Zealand which whitewashed Australia 2-0 in the test series.
“This is to ensure there is consistency, which will bring more stability and strengthen team bonding and combination,” chief selector Moin Khan said in a statement on Thursday.
The first test begins in Abu Dhabi on Sunday followed by matches in Dubai and Sharjah later this month. The teams will then compete in two Twenty20s and five one-day internationals.
Captain Misbah-ul-Haq scored test cricket’s fastest fifty before equaling Viv Richards’ 56-ball hundred last Sunday as Pakistan recorded its biggest test victory when it defeated Australia by 365 runs.
Pakistan’s top order scored prolifically on slow the wickets with Younis Khan scoring three successive centuries, Misbah and Azhar Ali smashing centuries in each innings of the second test and Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfraz Ahmed also notching hundreds.
“We need to put this success behind us for the moment and switch our focus on the series against New Zealand,” Moin Khan said. “It will be a fresh start and we need to keep the momentum going. ”
Australia’s batsmen struggled against spinners Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah, who shared 26 wickets in between them in the absence of suspended Saeed Ajmal.
There were reports in the local media that all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez might be left out after he could score only 48 runs in three test innings against Australia while opening the batting with Shehzad and took only four wickets.
Pakistan has not lost a test series against New Zealand since 1985.
Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umar, Ahmed Shehzad, Shan Masood, Younis Khan, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed, Imran Khan, Mohammad Talha, Rahat Ali, Yasir Shah, Ehsan Adil, Zulfiqar Babar.