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Misbah lauds bowlers

Dubai: Andrew Strauss insisted England will learn from their mistakes and not panic after Pakistan condemned his team to one the biggest defeats of his captaincy career in the opening Test on Thursday.

Strauss’s first Test defeat since losing in Perth 13 months ago was caused by two abject batting performances with only some late hitting by Graeme Swann preventing England from losing by an innings.

“We have plenty of things to ponder but we are not going to push the panic button,” said Strauss. “We need to come back strongly and show our character and resilience. We need to learn our lessons and we will be coming back better in the second Test.

“Our preparation has been very good and we played some good cricket in the warm-up games but we did not react well enough to the conditions here.

“To lose five wickets early in the first innings was a massive blow. Their spinners put our batsmen under pressure and we could not release that pressure. We are not going to make any excuses. We just did not play very well.”

For Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, this victory is the biggest of his career and builds on a successful 12 months since the spot fixing scandals.

While Strauss was trying not to get too carried away in defeat, Misbah was equally level headed in victory.

“We are trying to be one of the best teams in the world but we have a long way to go,” he said. “We are on the right path and just trying to keep doing what we are doing well at the moment.

“It was a wonderful performance by our bowlers. They stuck to their task and it was a the variations of Saeed Ajmal that made England’s batsmen make mistakes.

“We did not expect it to be so easy for us...a wonderful performance from the team, especially Saeed Ajmal... his seven wickets in the first innings put us on the way to victory,” Misbah said.

The Pakistan captain was also all praise for Umar Gul. “He’s been a matchwinner for us for a long period of time,” Misbah said of Gul.“Whenever we need him he bowls his heart out.”       

Strauss’ side bounced back from the defeat in Perth to win the next two Tests against Australia but the conditions in the UAE mirror those in the sub-continent where England teams have struggled for more than a decade. It was this weakness Strauss hoped to conquer this year.

“The bowlers did exceptionally well to bowl Pakistan out on that surface and that is not really where we are focussing our attention,” he said.