England seamer Ben Stokes threw his support behind team-mate Adil Rashid who recorded the worst innings figures on debut in all Test cricket, insisting the leg-spinner will come good next time.
Rashid went for 163 runs in his 34 wicket-less overs as Pakistan piled up 523/8 declared on the second day of the first Test in Abu Dhabi. At close, England had made 56/0, trailing by 467 runs.
For Pakistan, Shoaib Malik hit a career-best 245 while Asad Shafiq made 107 as England’s bowlers toiled under hot conditions.
Stokes, who claimed 4/57 to spark a mini-collapse in the post-tea session, sympathised with Rashid who was selected for the tour with spin tracks in mind.
“It hasn’t gone the way he would have wanted it to,” said Stokes of Rashid whose figures were worse than Australian leg-spinner Bryce McGain’s 0/149 in his debut Test against South Africa at Cape Town in 2009.
“We’ve been here for two weeks and know how well Rashid’s been bowling in practice. Next time he has the ball in hand hopefully he can deliver something big,” said Stokes.
“He doesn’t seem to get down too much, or get too high. I’ve played a bit of one-day cricket with him and when he’s done well he hasn’t got outside of his box or celebrated over the top.
“I think he’s a pretty level-headed cricketer, and I think he’ll be able to put this behind him.”
Besides Rashid, off-spinner Moeen Ali also failed to claim a wicket in his 30 overs, conceding 121 runs.
“I think it’s just to do with how good subcontinent players are against spin. We aren’t looking into that deeply at all. It could have been the other way around, they could have got the eight wickets instead of the seamers,” said Stokes.
“It was very tough day and a half. That’s the longest I have ever spent in the field, 40 degrees doesn’t help either but all the bowlers stuck at their task very, very well without getting much from the pitch or in the air.
“So we just had to plug away and not get bored. But credit to Pakistan, they played very well.”
Stokes said skipper Alastair Cook (39 not out) and Ali (15 not out) did well to negotiate 21 overs before close.