Sarfraz highlights 'mental problem' with Pakistan

Pakistan's dismal batting performance in the first Test against South Africa came as no surprise to Sarfraz Ahmed.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said he would detect where the side takes on a lot of pressure.   -  Getty Images

Sarfraz Ahmed acknowledges Pakistan has been suffering from mental frailties in Test matches for some time after a six-wicket defeat to South Africa.

The tourist was all out for 190 in its second innings by the end of the second day in Centurion and the Proteas took advantage with a comfortable chase, reaching their target of 149 inside 51 overs on Friday to secure a 1-0 series lead.

But the collapse sparked by Duanne Olivier's 5-59 was far from unique for Pakistan, with Sarfraz recognising there have regularly been poor second-inning totals in recent times, seemingly due to mounting pressure.

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The captain pinpointed a 2016 defeat in New Zealand as the starting point, as his side crumbled from 159-1 to 230 all out to hand the Black Caps victory.

"We have to see why we have a mental problem where we take on a lot of pressure," he said. "Because of this, we are unable to perform in the second innings. 

"We have been struggling in the second innings [for the past two years]. We do get starts but then a wicket falls which initiates a collapse.

"It has been [this way for] a while now. Since Hamilton [in 2016], this is happening. We will have to sort this out going forward. The responsibility lies on everyone: the players and the coaching staff."

But Sarfraz added that the pitch this week made batting difficult for both sides, saying: "If you see throughout the two-and-a-half days, all of the batsmen struggled.

"The first 30 or 40 balls for any batsmen were not easy. For me, this pitch qualifies to be a bowling paradise."