Azhar calls for Pakistan positivity


Azhar Ali expects Pakistan to adopt a more positive approach when they face England in the third one-day international after suffering a heavy defeat on Friday.

Pakistan won the opening game of the four-match series in Abu Dhabi by six wickets, but England responded with a 95-run victory at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Alex Hales scored his maiden ODI ton and there were half-centuries for Jason Roy and Joe Root in England's total of 283-5, which Pakistan never looked like chasing down.

The hosts slumped to 80-6 before Sarfraz Ahmed's 64 helped them salvage a small measure of pride by reaching 188, with Chris Woakes (4-33) and David Willey (3-25) doing most of the damage.

And captain Azhar is expecting a vast improvement in Sharjah on Tuesday.

"We didn't play aggressive cricket to start with, 280 was a total you can expect on that wicket and you back yourself to chase it, but we didn't put enough pressure on [the] English bowlers," the Pakistan spinner said of the defeat on Friday.

"We had 19 runs in 10 overs, that was the main cause of the defeat. We would like to play a lot more positively in this game, these days in ODI cricket you need to push on."

Azhar also backed star spinner Yasir Shah to come to the fore after recording figures of 1-38 and 0-70 in the first two matches.

He said: "In the first game he bowled really well - he had to see the wicket as well; it didn't offer much especially in the second game. It was hard for the spinners - there was hardly any turn.

"The second part maybe it did turn a little bit but obviously the situation was good for the spinners to bowl at that time. I think there's no doubting his abilities, hopefully he delivers soon."

England batsman James Taylor believes the tourists have made great strides, but expects Pakistan to put up more of a challenge in the third ODI.

"I think the boys in general have played spin pretty well on this trip. I think the talent we've got in this one-day group is exceptional and we showed glimpses of that in the second match," Taylor said.

"As a team we've learned a lot, and I think that is the most important thing. But most importantly, we've come here to win - and so far, we've won one and lost one. So it's all to play for. We know they're going to come back hard at us."