The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 15 , 2014
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Ajmal vows to bounce back

Sharjah: Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal backed his captain’s view that the hosts are being undermined in the Test series with Sri Lanka by unresponsive pitches in the United Arab Emirates.

Misbah-ul Haq was surprised and disillusioned when the pitch in Dubai didn’t offer turn and Pakistan lost the second Test on Sunday to fall behind 0-1 in the three-match series.

“I have been playing in Dubai for the last six years, but haven’t got such a bad response (from the wicket) here,” Ajmal said on Tuesday.

“I did a lot of hard work, but couldn’t get good result as the wicket was good for fast bowlers and was not supporting the spinners.”

Sri Lanka have so far neutralized the threat of Ajmal with captain Angelo Mathews (157 not out) and Mahela Jayawardene (129) scoring centuries in the two Tests.

Ajmal is one of the few players who has been playing in all three formats over the last three years. But the off-spinner didn’t believe the workload was taking a personal toll. Instead he has promised to bounce back.

“We don’t play that many number of Test matches, hardly 4-5 matches every year,” Ajmal said.

“I couldn’t perform in the last two matches and I am disappointed. (But) I am doing the hard work and will bounce back,” Ajmal said.

The third and final Test starts on Thursday in Sharjah, and Pakistan are counting on their “home” pitch being prepared to their strengths, in this case spin.

Pakistan are likely to draft in left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman at the expense of a fast bowler in hope of squaring the series.

“The ball wasn’t spinning (in Dubai) and they were cautious while playing against me,” Ajmal said. “If I had got some spin the result would have been different. The wicket was very slow... even on day five the ball didn’t spin.”

Ajmal has his hopes pinned on the flat pitch at Sharjah Stadium being prepared right for Pakistan. (Agencies)