New Delhi, Nov 22 (UNI) Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson today criticised his side's top-order failure, but said a 250-plus score at the Feroz Shah Kotla wicket would bring the visitors back in the game.
''We didn't go there and do our home work well. I don't know, what is a good score in this wicket, but I will be happy with a score of 250 which would be competitive,'' Lawson told mediapersons here after the conclusion of the opening day's play in the first Test against India.
''If we bowl straight and stick to our plans, then we are very much in the game,'' he asserted.
Not holding his irritation at the way Pakistani batsmen played today, especially in the first session of the day, Lawson said, ''It seems our top-order batsmen are still in the ODI frame of mind. They played a lot of shots which is suited to the one-day internationals (ODIs). It is such a bad habit.'' He also credited the Indian bowlers for their wonderful bowling display, which almost dessimated the Pakistani batting line-up, reducing them to five for 83 in the 33rd over.
''India bowled very good line and length. They made the new ball count. The pitch has variable bounce, some balls were keeping low while some bounced high.
''The weather also helped the Indians. It was a coolish day, with misty conditions to assist the pacers,'' he said.
Heaping praise on the 68-run ninth-wicket stand between middle-order batsman Misbah-Ul-Haq and pacer Mohammed Sami which eventually saved the day for Pakistan, the Aussie said, ''They (Misbah and Sami) were absoulutely perfect. They ran singles and rotated the strike. Moreover, batting also became easy in the last session.'' At tea, the visitors were tottering at 142 for the loss of eight wickets, but a defiant 71 by Misbah and his brave unbeaten ninth wicket stand with Sami saved Pakistan the blushes as the visitors retrieved some lost ground in the last session to end the first day of the opening Test on 210 for eight.
When questioned about captain Shoaib Malik's decision to bat first after winning the toss, particularly looking at the assitance the Indian seamers extracted from the pitch in the opening session, Lawson chose to remain in the safe side, saying, ''I can only tell you regarding this (toss) after the conclusion of the match.'' However, he was of the view that weather conditions might help the Pakistani bowlers in the days to come.
''Humidity factor may help our pacers in the future course of action which is a good sign.'' UNI