SYDNEY: Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has labelled his side’s fielding “woeful” and “unacceptable” after a butter-fingered display in the fourth VB one-day international against Australia in Sydney. Pakistan dropped four catches in the field as the home side racked up a monster total of 6-353, with each of Australia’s four highest scorers given a life during the innings. Century-maker David Warner (130) was dropped on 113, Glenn Maxwell (78) was missed on just 8, Travis Head (51) was put down on 28 and captain Steve Smith (49) was spilled on 10, the four chances costing Pakistan a total of 149 runs in the 86-run loss. Ironically, it was two of Pakistan’s best performers for the match who were the culprits; opener Sharjeel Khan spilled Smith and Head before top-scoring with a thrilling 47-ball 74, while paceman Hasan Ali (5-50) put down Warner and Maxwell. Sharjeel’s drop of Smith – he offered just one hand to a regulation chance at backward point – was the worst of the lot and was labelled a “lazy effort” by former Australia captain Michael Clarke in commentary. “We just can’t give chances like that,” Arthur said after the loss, which gave Australia an unbeatable 3-1 series lead. “It’s unacceptable. Certainly, the standards we set for this cricket team haven’t been met in the field. So that’s really disappointing. (Dropped catches) allows them to push out at the back end. Maxwell should have been out, Head should have been out, which meant that we would have had two new batsmen there all the time. Those are the kinds of things we just can’t afford to do,” he said. “If we want to get to where we want to get to in terms of rankings, we just can’t make those errors. “Had we taken those catches, those players wouldn’t have been at the wicket to take toll of those last couple of overs. Batting and bowling I can sit with tonight and take some positives out of it. Fielding (was) woeful and way below standard,” he added. Arthur said his team’s fitness, which has long been an issue in Pakistan cricket, has improved since he took over as coach last May and he also backed the training methods of the side’s Australian fielding coach Steve Rixon.
Pakistan famously completed an army-style boot camp ahead of their tour of England last year, but Arthur labelled their fitness “a work in progress” and says they still trail behind the rest of the world in that department. The South African said Australia are “15-20 runs better” than Pakistan on average when it comes to fielding and fitness, but that gap was blown out to an unmanageable level tonight. “I said to the guys yesterday in our team meeting that I think Australia are 15-20 runs better than us in those departments … and tonight they were 50 runs better,” Arthur said. “And you just can’t compete if that’s the case. “(I’m) incredibly frustrated. And it’s not through a lack of hard work; the guys have trained and trained and trained and somewhere between the training and going out on the ground, it’s seemed to get lost. So we’ll just keep pursuing that and keep endeavouring to get better and better because we have to. “The gap between the best sides in the world and where we sit at the moment is not great in terms of batting and bowling, but in terms of fielding, athleticism, fitness, running between the wickets, the gap is massive. Those are issues we continually talk about and continually train for, but we’re just going to have to do it harder and harder,” the head coach said. Australia were far from perfect in the field tonight themselves, with Usman Khawaja and Travis Head both dropping catches and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade fumbling a possible run out chance. However match-of-the-match Warner took an excellent diving catch in front of the Member’s Stand on the western side of the ground, while Josh Hazlewood also took a good catch diving forward in the deep. “I probably made it look better than what it was,” Warner said of his catch in the outfield to remove Shoaib Malik. “It came quite flat and I had to run around and try and judge it that way. “They’re always tough ones to catch. Obviously Heady unfortunately dropped his one and … they’re ones at training (that) sometimes we might let go on the odd occasion because of your fingers. “But we do practice that and we’re expected to take them. I’d be gutted if I dropped a couple of them.”