Misbah asks players to improve fielding


Misbah-ul Haq will look for an improved performance from his fielders to menace Sri Lanka in the second Test which starts at Dubai sports city stadium from Wednesday. Pakistan snatched a draw from the jaws of a win by dropping as many as seven catches to let the Sri Lankans off in the first Test in Abu Dhabi last week, leaving the three-Test series tied. Led by left-arm paceman Junaid Khan (5-38), Pakistan rocked Sri Lanka to a low score of 197 after Misbha won the toss and elected to field and then took a huge 314-run lead on the back of a career-best 236 from Taufiq Umar. But then the fielders spoiled a good chance of pressing for a win when they dropped six catches on the fourth day, allowing opener Lahiru Thirimanne (68) and Kumar Sangakkara five chances between them.
Sangakkara, who notched 211, then punished Pakistan for their sloppy fielding by putting together a record 201-run stand for the sixth wicket with Prasanna Jayawardene who scored 120 to salvage a draw for Sri Lanka.
Misbah hoped his players will work hard to overcome fielding weaknesses. “Slip catching is all about confidence, just like batting. We are really looking forward to doing a lot of practice, and forget the fielding effort in the first match and just go out for a win,” said Misbah. Since Misbah took over in the post spot-fixing scandal in England last year, which ended in bans for former Test captain Salman Butt, Pakistan have not lost a series and the skipper feels the Abu Dhabi draw is not going to affect them. “Nobody’s down,” said Misbah when asked if the players dejected after spoiling a good chance. “The show everybody put up, everyone was focused, everyone bowling their heart out. we tried everything but at the end you can say luck, or the fielding, you can’t do anything about.”
Pakistan can bring in left-arm paceman Wahab Riaz in place of Aizaz Cheema who managed a wicket in each of the two innings despite bowling a hostile spell on the first day.
Sri Lanka can also bring in off-spinner Suraj Randiv in place of any of the two seamers Nuwan Pradeep or Suranga Lakmal if the Dubai stadium pitch has any chance to help the spinners. Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan said his team will have the psychological advantage after avoiding defeat in the first match. “I think it’s (draw) a huge advantage for us. We were well behind in the match and we survived and since this is a long series we have to come strongly in each match,” said Dilshan, who took over in May last year.
Under Dilshan Sri Lanka have not won a Test, losing 1-0 to both England and Australia in each of the three-Test series. Dilshan hoped his batsmen put up a better show in the first innings. “We were bowled out for under 200 runs and it was very difficult to come back and win the match,” said Dilshan of the Abu Dhabi Test.
“We have to come strongly in the second Test, especially the first innings we have to put runs on the board so that this young bowling attack has some confidence to bowl. We can’t ask them to bowl with just 200 runs. Dilshan was worried about his own batting form, after having scored just one half-century in the last four Tests. “Yes, it’s a worry but I am sure that I can get runs in the middle order and I look forward to that in the second Test, because five-day cricket needs everyone to perform,” said Dilshan. The third Test will be played in Sharjah from November 3-7.
Squads and officials for the second cricket Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka starting at the Dubai Stadium on Wednesday:
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umar, Imran Farhat, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Aizaz Cheema, Junaid Khan.
Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), Angelo Mathews, Tharanga Paranavitana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Prasanna Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Rangana Herath, Suraj Randiv, Chanaka Welegedara, Suranga Lakmal, Kosala Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Pradeep, Kaushal Silva.
Umpires: Tony Hill (NZL) and Shahvir Tarapore (IND), Tv umpire: Zameer Haider (PAK), Match referee: David Boon (AUS)