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Away success key for Pakistan: Coach Arthur

BIRMINGHAM: Mickey Arthur said Friday that winning series away from their adopted UAE home would be Pakistan’s acid test after former side Australia’s struggles in Sri Lanka bolstered their hopes of becoming the world’s number one Test team.

Pakistan are currently third in the International Cricket Council standings, with Australia on top.

But they could rise to the summit if Australia lose their ongoing series in Sri Lanka and Pakistan themselves triumph in England.

The first part of that equation moved nearer to reality Friday when Australia, already 1-0 down in a three-match campaign, were left staring at defeat on an extraordinary second day of the second Test in Galle at 25 for three chasing a mammoth 413 for victory.

Pakistan, all square at 1-1 in a four-match series with England, had a better, if frustrating, time on Friday’s third day of the third Test at Edgbaston.

Having established a first-innings lead of 103, they saw England captain Alastair Cook (64 not out) and Alex Hales (50 not out) erase the deficit with an unbroken opening stand of 120 that left the hosts 17 runs in front at stumps.

For Pakistan coach Arthur, dramatically sacked by Australia on the eve of the 2013 Ashes series in England, events in Galle had not gone unnoticed.

“Misbah (Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq) and I did chat about it on the bus as we saw the Australian score from Sri Lanka,” Arthur told reporters after stumps at Edgbaston.

“I think the reality is if you want to be number one in the world you’ve got to be able to win away from home.

“We’ve got a tough schedule — England here, then New Zealand away in two Tests in November and then we go and play in Australia, Boxing Day (Melbourne), the New Year (Sydney) and the night Test in Brisbane.

“But for us to be where we want to be, those are the series we’ve got to win.” – AFP