Misbah targets improved fielding
Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has said that his side needs to improve their fielding if they want to win the three-Test series against Sri Lanka. Pakistan dropped six catches in Sri Lanka's second innings, helping the visitors overcome a 314-run first-innings deficit and hang on for a draw.
"The only negative from the Test is our fielding," Misbah said. "Otherwise bowling and batting had so many positives. Pakistan's fielding has improved over time but we need to improve more, like with batting and bowling. We have been for ages on and off in the field, one day outstanding, other days not so.
"But we've focussed and worked hard on this for the last year and a half. The problem still does come up, but we are trying to better it [the fielding]."
Fielding aside, Pakistan had plenty of positives to take from the game. Left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan picked up career-best figures of 5-38 in just his second Test, helping bowl out Sri Lanka for 197 in their first innings, while opener Taufeeq Umar racked up a double-century.
"We took 20 wickets and lost seven, so it's really a positive sign for our team," Misbah said. "We can work hard on fielding, come in with more confidence and do well in the second Test.
Led by Kumar Sangakkara, who made 211, his eighth double hundred in Tests, Sri Lanka were able to keep Pakistan at bay and save the Test, and Misbah praised their rearguard action. "You always rate Sri Lanka as a top-class cricket team. They made a great comeback, we were expecting that. We were aware that they are going to fight, and full marks to Sangakkara and Prasanna [Jayawardene] who put up a brilliant show."
Pakistan were set 170 to win in 21 overs to but opted not to try and overhaul the target, a tactic that Misbah defended. "Realistically, last day wicket ... Twenty20 is a different ball-game, you have field restrictions, a Powerplay. In a five-day game, no restrictions, you can pack one side and nine-an-over becomes difficult, it was not realistic."
Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, said he was disappointed that Pakistan did not even try to chase their target. "I think it's a huge advantage for us," Dilshan said. "I thought Pakistan would try to go for the target and I am a little unhappy they did not try to go for a win."
Dilshan also praised Sangakkara and Prasanna Jayawardene, who made his fourth Test century and added 201 with Sangakkara in their game-saving stand.
"It was a fantastic partnership. Sangakkara showed his class, played well in the middle and guided Prasanna. I can't ask for more from him. He is a fantastic player and Prasanna played equally well.
"Definitely, I am really happy. The thing is, after the first couple of days we were well behind in the match and even then the body language in fielding and bowling on a flat wicket was great."
The second Test starts in Dubai on Wednesday.