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November 23, 2011
Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has termed his side's 4-1 humbling of World Cup finalists Sri Lanka in the one-day series in UAE an "outstanding performance". Pakistan have won all their bilateral ODI series this year, against New Zealand, West Indies, Ireland, Zimbabwe and now Sri Lanka.
"It good to see us beating a top-ranked side 4-1, and I congratulate my side for this," Misbah said after the victory in the fifth match in Abu Dhabi. "I am happy because the team is improving and performing so well. The goal is to improve day by day and we want to extend the victory succession. This team has now been playing together for almost a year and a half, so it is now getting good experience and developing into a good team."
In UAE, Misbah had the experience of three former captains - Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi - to fall back on, while a number of youngsters also performed creditably. Misbah was happy with the combination of youth and experience available at his disposal.
"I am really pleased to have a mixture of junior and senior players," he said. "They are understanding their roles and responsibilities, and I am very happy with the way they are fulfilling the duty. Now you can say that it's an experienced side, and I foresee a good future for my team."
The win allowed Pakistan to climb to fifth spot in the ICC rankings, their best rating in recent times as they look to shrug off the tumultuous after-effects of the spot-fixing scandal. The depth of their bowling options gave Pakistan the edge in the series, in addition to their reserve strength.
"Our bench strength and the playing XI are outstanding, and this is the main reason team is performing well," Misbah said. "It's a tough competition in the bowling department as whoever is handed a chance to play is performing. The idea is to rotate the circle and try out every one accordingly, and so far everyone is taking the opportunity well."
Misbah backed the returning allrounder Shoab Malik, who endured a torrid time in the two chances he got, making scores of 2 and 0. "Malik came in after an outstanding performance in Pakistan [at the domestic level] but he is going through tough time and this happens sometimes in your career.
"He is batting well at the nets as well but it happens that sometimes you aren't able to score runs at the top level. But he is still a good batsman and a match-winner for the team. So he still has a lot of cricket in him and just needs one innings to get back in touch."
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