Captain Misbah back to boost Pakistan in 2nd test

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq will return from suspension to bolster Pakistan’s under-pressure batting lineup for the second of three tests against Sri Lanka starting on Saturday.

By (AP)

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Published: Fri 29 Jun 2012, 6:09 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 12:09 AM

Misbah missed the series opener for a slow over rate offense as the Sri Lankans took a 1-0 lead with a 209-run win at Galle after Pakistan was bowled out for 100 in its first innings. Only three touring batsmen reached double figures in its first innings, although the Pakistanis did improve to post 300 in the second.

But Sri Lanka’s victory was built on its hefty 472 batting first and Misbah said there had to be improvement from Pakistan’s bowlers as well at Sinhalese Sports Club, where the home team hasn’t lost a test since 2004.

Misbah said Pakistan’s batting was “an issue” in the first test but the bowlers also had to lift their game against a Sri Lankan batting order that traditionally dominates at home and especially at Colombo.

A century by Tillakaratne Dilshan and an unbeaten 199 from Kumar Sangakkara set up Sri Lanka’s strong win in the first test as Pakistan’s bowlers, with the exception of offspinner Saeed Ajmal, struggled.

“Batting obviously was an issue in Galle. But before that, when you let someone score 500 runs you are always under pressure and you are almost out of the game,” Misbah said. “We have to consider that fact as well on a bowling point of view. It’s really important we take 20 wickets. We have to just improve in our bowling as well.”

Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene said Misbah’s return would be a major help to Pakistan, with the captain set to provide allround guidance as well as experience in the heart of the tourists’ batting after seeing out a one-match suspension from the final one-day game.

“He is an experienced guy and he is a very calm character. His calm influence will benefit Pakistan,” Jayawardene said.

Fast bowler Dilhara Fernando was recalled to Sri Lanka’s squad in place of injured left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara, who has not recovered from the shoulder problem that kept him out of the opening test.

Misbah returned to take captaincy duties back from opener Mohammad Hafeez, who can focus on his batting after he failed in both innings in Pakistan’s heavy loss at Galle.

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