SA coach expects his bowlers to strike back

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) South Africa coach Russell Domingo expects his bowlers to strike back after Pakistan took a shock 1-0 lead in the two-match test series with a seven-wicket victory.

It was South Africa's first defeat in the last 16 test matches and puts in danger its seven-year record of not losing a test series away from home.

"I have got bowlers in this group of players who are capable of getting 20 wickets. We need to implement our plans better and be a lot more disciplined," Domingo said Sunday as South African players practised in the nets.

The first test ended Thursday at Abu Dhabi with a day to spare. The four-pronged South African pace attack was found wanting as it bowled too short of length with Pakistan's first innings lead of 193 proving decisive.

The second test starts Wednesday at Dubai International Stadium.

Domingo doesn't expect to tinker too much with his bowling lineup although he's still not sure whether leading batsman Hashim Amla will join the squad after flying back home to be with his wife, who is expecting their second child.

"That's not in our control and Hashim needed to be with his wife," Domingo said. "(We need) to have him in the side not just as a player but as a personality."

South Africa's top order failed in both innings, with the only highlights being Amla's century and a gritty 90 by A.B. de Villiers that gave them totals of 249 and 232.

"The plans won't change massively," Domingo said. "What went wrong was that we just didn't play well enough ... They outplayed us in every department and we know that we need to improve."

South Africa's pacemen Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander did cause Pakistan some nerves in their run chase of 40 by removing three batsmen for just seven runs inside four overs.

And that has raised the coach's hopes for the second test.

"There was a sense leaving the field after having lost the test that, if we had 120 or 130 runs more, we could have had a real sniff in the game," Domingo said.

South Africa captain Graeme Smith showed signs of rustiness on his return since undergoing ankle surgery after the 3-0 rout of Pakistan in February, while Jacques Kallis is yet to fire after a long break from international cricket.

"Every time a South Africa side loses a match, there are always questions asked and fingers point at us," Domingo said.

"But at the end of the day they are professional players. They know they are not going to win every single game and that's just the way sport is and we know that we did not play to our potential in the last test."

South Africa's two spinners Robin Peterson and J.P. Duminy were outclassed by Pakistan's spin duo of Saeed Ajmal and 34-year-old newcomer Zulfiqar Babar, who combined for 11 wickets in the match.

South Africa has legspinner Imran Tahir in the squad but Domingo hinted the Pakistan-born spinner might sit out the second test too.

"We can't have a warm up test for a test match, it just can't happen. So it is a concern that he (Tahir) hasn't played a lot of cricket lately, but that's just the way it is, nothing we can do about it."

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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