Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi, 5th day October 22, 2011

Misbah targets improved fielding

ESPNcricinfo staff

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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 25, 2011, 10:41 GMT

    Misbah is the best thing for Pak at the moment so please, Pakistani fans, stop yelling at him. His strike rate in ODIs is 80 and average very high, thats a good combo. As for Tests, after Bradman hes got the highest average as captain.

    Pakistan team is pure now, ever since the start of 2011, we managed to get rid of player politics and now the team is actually winning. We bowled a tough batting line up out for 197 on a flat track and Pakistan dominated the Test match. Good going.

  • Pankaj on October 24, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs: "Tendulkar is severely overrated in my books in Test cricket". did i hear "your" book??? ohh yes, you must that bowler who took his wkt every time you bowled him, or scared him away with your raw pace... isnt it mate?? lol

  • Dummy4 on October 24, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    The Nagative approch of Sri Lankan openers in the first innigs put the pakistani bowlers on top.After the to give the opeertunity to Dynamic Dinesh Chandimal.However both bats came up with good scores.So I wonder when will chandimal gets the opeertunity.What sri lankans lackin is consistancy.Expet for welagedara all other bowlers are very orinary on the flat track.I t is better if we can insert suraj Randiv in place of Suranga Lakmal or Nuwan pradeep.

  • Rakesh on October 24, 2011, 6:35 GMT

    @Pankaj_INDIA - please. Dont be a blind follower. SRT is one of the best not the best. I am a die hard Indian fan but since IPL have lost some respect for sachin. He has earned more than enough to last a few generations but still places his Franchise over country. Rested from west indies but immediately after the world cup played in IPL.

  • Rakesh on October 24, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    Misbah is having Short term memory loss. He forgot that his batsman were batting with strike rates of 35, 27 etc. does he expect to win matches with such horribly slow batting?

  • Hassaan on October 24, 2011, 4:29 GMT

    The problem is not Pakistan, The problem is Misbah ulhaq. He is a defensive character. Not worth of playing as a captain. In the past series he was seen like this. Play defensive resulting in not going for a win on the last day. He needs to be replaced by someone daring.

  • Mike on October 24, 2011, 1:17 GMT

    Shows dilshan's inexperience as a captain to think a total like that could be reached in 20overs. Even on a flat wicket its just not a smart thing to do. I think dilshan is still a tad reckless to be captain. Someone needs to take over from him. But the people who should dont want to. shame.

  • Snawar on October 24, 2011, 1:04 GMT

    I never liked this guy (Misbah) as a captain and he never missed a chance to prove me right. For God's sake, you cant win matches with such a negative frame of mind. Pakistan batted like they are playing 50 days game not a 5 days game, NO urgency. You can kill(draw) a test match with net RR of 2.90 but can not win, not when you score 26 runs in 94 balls. Though fourth innings target was not easy but its real shame that Pakistan gave up even before they stepped out to bat. What a disgrace to Pakistan cricket..

  • Rohan on October 23, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    realy good improvement frm pak, and sanga as usual awesome......

  • leo on October 23, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    ON flat tracks any body can cay anything, if you look at the stats only partially good players like tendulkar, dravid and all other indian so called great players have scored!! but look at the big picture world class players score runs all over the world!!

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