8/1/10

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis backed his side to be as resilient against England as they were against Australia after their latest top-order collapse left them on the brink of a crushing defeat.

Pakistan were 15 for three at stumps on the third day of the first Test against England at Trent Bridge on Saturday, needing an unlikely 420 more runs for what would be a world record fourth innings victory total of 435.

The current fourth innings victory record is the 418 for seven made by the West Indies against Australia in Antigua in 2003.

No Pakistan batsman has so far made a hundred in a Test since the team arrived in Britain for a two-match series against Australia, which ended in a 1-1 draw, and the subsequent four clashes with England.

Indeed the fact their best score in this match so far has been tailender Umar Gul's Test-best 65 not out in the first innings, which at least prevented the follow-on, says a lot about the state of Pakistan's batting.

They arguably have not helped themselves by leaving out experienced top-order duo Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan from their tour squad following disciplinary sanctions imposed on both ex-captains following Pakistan's 3-0 series loss in Australia earlier this year.

However, Waqar said Pakistan had no choice for the present but to make do with top-order novices Azhar Ali, 25, and 20-year-old Umar Amin, who both made their debuts in Pakistan's 150-run first Test loss to Australia at Lord's, and ruled out a recall for either of the former skippers.

"One (Yousuf) is retired - we can't bring someone back who is retired - and the other (Younis) has serious issues with the (Pakistan) cricket board," fast bowling great Waqar told reporters.

Pakistan bounced back from a crushing reverse at Lord's to beat Australia by three wickets in the second Test at Headingley last week.

However, that win was achieved on the back of a superb display from the pace bowling trio of Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul which saw Australia dismissed for just 88 in their first innings.

And a sympathetic Waqar said the seamers' physical efforts, especially those of Aamer and Asif, were starting to catch up with his bowlers.

"Aamer and Asif have bowled superbly with, both the new and old ball even in the Australia series. Gul has bowled well in patches.

"The (fast) bowlers are really tired. These bowlers have been bowling too many overs from the Australia series. We don't want anyone injured and those three our are key bowlers."

Waqar was a frustrated spectator as Matt Prior's unbeaten 102 took England to a second innings total of 262 for nine declared that saw the wicketkeeper share a last-wicket stand of 49 with Steven Finn.

And he could only watch as Ali fell for nought, lbw to Stuart Broad and Amin departed, lbw for one, to James Anderson, before Saturday's close.

"It seems very, very hard form here on," Waqar said. "But we won against Australia so we are a very fine side and I've got no doubt they can make a comeback. It is a four-match Test series.

"I haven't given up on this Test yes, but it is not going to be very easy tomorrow (Sunday)," he added.