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My Role is to Contain But Was Unlucky to Not Get Wickets: Bilal Asif

Pakistan off-spinner Bilal Asif put a poor run of form behind him to scalp 2/57 on the opening day of the third Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Monday. Asif, who took five wickets on debut against Australia in October, admitted that the lack of wickets since his first two Tests have been a concern but he’d been bowling well all along.

Cricketnext Staff |December 4, 2018, 10:49 AM IST
My Role is to Contain But Was Unlucky to Not Get Wickets: Bilal Asif

Pakistan off-spinner Bilal Asif put a poor run of form behind him to scalp 2/57 on the opening day of the third Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Monday. Asif, who took five wickets on debut against Australia in October, admitted that the lack of wickets since his first two Tests have been a concern but he’d been bowling well all along.

"Of course, it does concern you if your matches are not going well (in terms of wickets) after a good start," Asif said after the first day’s play on Monday. "The role given to me is to contain. I was a bit unlucky not to get wickets despite bowling well. I am trying to improve day by day and acquire the skills required to excel at this level."

In his first bowling stint in Test cricket against Australia in the preceding series, Asif had impressed with 6/36 in the first innings. Then, in the next Test, he picked up 3/23 in the first innings to help set up a series-clinching victory.

The tall off-spinner believed his luck had returned as he hopes for a series-turning performance in the deciding Test against Kiwis.

"I have got confidence after bowling well today," the 33-year-old said. "In the last two innings, I couldn't get wickets because of which I was a bit concerned. I will try to end this match on a good note."

Asif's performances dropped off a bit in the first two Tests of the three-match series against New Zealand. Across the two games at spin-friendly surfaces in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, he claimed just two wickets even as other spinners on both sides had a big impact on proceedings.

His return to form was apparent by the way he bowled against New Zealand on the first day of the third Test. He bowled with accuracy and was rewarded with two wickets, including that of Kiwi all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme, who was looking to take him on.

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