Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Dubai, 4th day October 29, 2011

All our bowlers are match-winners - Misbah

ESPNcricinfo staff

Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has said the key to his side's victory against Sri Lanka in the second Test, in Dubai, was that they had four match-winning bowlers. He was full of praise for his team's "thorough, professional performance" that earned him a fourth win in nine Tests since taking over the captaincy, following the alleged spot-fixing in England last year.

"We don't really have one key bowler we rely on because all our bowlers are match-winners," Misbah said. "In this Test, Umar Gul took wickets in the first innings, Saeed Ajmal in the second and Junaid Khan took wickets in both innings. Abdur Rehman also chipped in and in the first Test Aizaz Cheema had several wickets.

"I think it was a thorough, professional performance and I am really happy about our progress. I think our bowlers put a lot of pressure [on Sri Lanka], we got Kumar Sangakkara early. His was the key wicket because he is a world-class player, that boosted our confidence and put theirs down."

Sri Lanka had begun the fourth day on 88 for 1 with Sangakkara batting on 29. He added only one more run this morning before Abdur Rehman trapped him lbw. Saeed Ajmal spearheaded Pakistan's victory push, taking 5 for 68 and bowling Sri Lanka out for 257 with enough time left in the day to secure victory. Pakistan had played a second specialist spinner in Abdur Rehman in this Test and he contributed four wickets.

"I think we have played a lot of cricket here and normally this pitch helps the spinners. On the basis of that we decided to play with two spinners and that was the key," Misbah said. "Ajmal is a world-class spinner and a match-winner, and so is Rehman. They did very well for us."

Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, has asked his batsmen to apply themselves better following Pakistan's nine-wicket victory with a day to spare in the Dubai Test. Sri Lanka were dismissed for 239 in their first innings, conceded a 164-run lead, and managed only 257 in their second, setting Pakistan a target of 94, which was achieved in the 25th over. Pakistan lead the three-Test series 1-0.

"The batsmen should apply themselves. They must trust their own game plan and play their own game," Dilshan said. "If we had got 350 runs in the first innings, it would have been a different game."

Kumar Sangakkara, who scored 78, was the only batsman to make a half-century in Sri Lanka's first innings. And if not for Chanaka Welegedara's 48 at No. 10, they would have been bowled out for fewer than 239. In the second innings, only Tharanga Paranavitana and Angelo Mathews made half-centuries, when Sri Lanka needed a monumental effort to save the Test.

"As a batting group, we have to improve and come out stronger," Dilshan said. "Bowlers, again, did a good job, but we have to keep our heads up and come out hard in the third Test."

Both captains said they were in favour of using the DRS after a few questionable decisions in the Test. In Pakistan's first innings, Mohammad Hafeez was given out lbw to one that seemed to be headed down leg side while Azhar Ali had got a a bottom edge onto the ball that was adjudged to have trapped him in front. Sri Lanka had two iffy lbw decisions - against Sangakkara and Dilshan - hurt them in their second innings, while Angelo Mathews survived a pretty adjacent call.

"I will always go for the DRS because it helps the teams and the umpires and produces good cricket," Misbah said.

The third Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka begins in Sharjah on November 3.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 1, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    yea being a pakistani fan i would love to back Misbah Decision to go with rehman instead of cheema and that's paid of the result .

  • Orang on November 1, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    Sri Lanka lost 1-0 to England, India were whitewashed 4-0, now Pakistan poised to win series against Sl, you do the math !!

  • Dummy4 on October 31, 2011, 13:45 GMT

    dn't forget Aizaz cheema ..He showed some talent + Heart !

  • Stefan on October 31, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    Very decent effort from Pakistan, but they should have one the first test as well if not horrible fielding. For Sri Lanka it is a huge downfall since the summer in England, when at least they put some good batting displays. Attack is still second-rating, but at least they bowled Pakistan out in this last test. I think the third test will be a copy of the first two, but let's see.

  • Manesh on October 31, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    SL do not have any wicket taking bowlers like Murali or Vass...they cannot ask for double hundred in every matches from Sanga or Jayawardhane....Dilshan is not a good candidate for tests...Captaincy increased the pressure on him.

  • Ajay on October 31, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Totally agree with Misbah, so now its time to improve in batting and fielding

  • abdul on October 31, 2011, 2:45 GMT

    I think Mohsin should stay on as coach

  • Dummy4 on October 30, 2011, 18:52 GMT

    why nuwan kulasekara is not playing in tests he could have been handy in these conditions

  • Tom on October 30, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq are the future of Pakistan Test cricket. They might not be jenious of stroke making but they know how to stay on the wicket. They showed that they want to play cricket and they cannot become a victim. I still have hopes with Umar Akmal but he has to learn to play for the team and occupy the crease. Mohsin is right to gave him a rest and show his talent in the domestic first. He will surely gets another chance but it could be his last one if he still play stupid cricket and waste his talent just likeAamir Nazir did. But Yes we still has a opening slot open for grab as Taufeeq Umar just could not improve. I hope Pakistani selectors don't waste player like Fawad Aalam ( Averages 60 in domestic cricket) like they did it to Misbah. Mohammad yousuf ( younger than Misbah) is still a wonderful player to have in our team for couple of years. Move Azhar Ali to open and Yousuf One down may still be the ideal combination.

  • Dummy4 on October 30, 2011, 17:27 GMT

    Ajmal has got to be one of the toughest bowlers to play against. Usually Pakistan's pacers get all the spotlight but Saeed Ajmal is the best offie in business today. I hope he continues to improve.

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