Pakistan v Sri Lanka 2013-14

Misbah shines but top order still a concern

Pakistan's marks out of ten for the series against Sri Lanka

Umar Farooq

January 23, 2014

Comments: 12 | Text size: A | A

Azhar Ali celebrates his fifth Test hundred, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sharjah, 5th day, January 20, 2014
Azhar Ali's hundred in the Sharjah Test was the best of his 32-match career © AFP
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9

Misbah-ul-Haq (364 runs at an average of 91.00)
Misbah-ul-Haq led by example in the batting department. His unbeaten 68 off 72 balls, scored in the final session of the fifth day in Sharjah, led Pakistan to an astonishing victory and helped them square the series 1-1. His scores of 137, 1, 97, 63, 68* reflect his consistency and the innings in Sharjah showed he could step up the run-scoring when needed. As a captain, he was occasionally conservative.

8

Junaid Khan (14 wickets at 28.71)
Pakistan's bowling spearhead put in another good performance. His five-wicket haul in Abu Dhabi gave the side a significant first-innings advantage. He was economical throughout and finished as the joint leading wicket-taker, along with Rangana Herath, on pitches that were not helpful for the bowlers.

7

Azhar Ali (111 runs at 55.50)
His match-winning 103 in Pakistan's chase in Sharjah was the best knock of his 32-Test career, making up for the wasted review in the first innings. He was dropped for the first two Tests but bounced back to strengthen a claim for the No. 3 position.

6.5

Sarfraz Ahmed (134 runs at 33.50)
A makeshift wicketkeeper-batsman who replaced the injured Adnan Akmal, Sarfraz made the best of a sudden chance. His 48 in the second innings in Sharjah played a vital role in Pakistan's victory and a half-century in Dubai helped the side put up a fight. His glovework, however, was mediocre.

6

Younis Khan (285 runs at 57.00)
One of Pakistan's most seasoned contenders, Younis often steadied the innings after a top-order collapse. He began with a century in Abu Dhabi and also scored a fifty in Dubai, but was largely unable to cash in on the flatter tracks. His contributions to the win in Sharjah were limited.

5

Ahmed Shehzad (273 runs at 45.50)
Made his Test debut for Pakistan in the series and showed promise with a hundred in Sharjah. He won the Test cap on the basis of his ODI form but his patience was often worn down by Sri Lanka's bowlers. He still needs to work on his temperament in the longer formats.

Khurram Manzoor (181 runs at 30.16)
He shrugged off poor form in the Abu Dhabi Test with 73 and 52 in the Dubai and Sharjah Tests respectively, but there are questions over his technique. He was unconvincing in the series and, as a result, the slot for the second opener in the Pakistan Test side is still open.

Saeed Ajmal (10 wickets at 42.10)
Played his most disappointing series of the last three years. Ajmal picked up two wickets in Sri Lanka's first innings in Abu Dhabi and then had to wait 77.2 overs to take another one - a new low for the bowler. The match haul of five wickets in Sharjah came at the cost of 173 runs and he finished as Pakistan's most expensive bowler in the series.


Mohammad Talha is congratulated after dismissing Angelo Mathews, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sharjah, 5th day, January 20, 2014
Mohammad Talha was impressive on his return to Test cricket after nearly five years © AFP
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Mohammad Talha (6 wickets at 27.33)
He last played a Test for Pakistan in March 2009 at the Gaddafi Stadium and on his return to international cricket after nearly five years, he showed promise. He spent the first two Tests on the bench but replaced Rahat Ali in the third, and found success in spite of an inconsistent length.

Abdur Rehman (5 wickets at 31.40)
With Pakistan opting for Ajmal as their lead spinner, a Test opportunity for Rehman is rare and he made it count this time. Prior to the Sharjah Test, Rehman had last played for Pakistan in September 2013 against Zimbabwe. He took 4 for 56 in Sri Lanka's second innings in Sharjah, which helped restrict the visitors to 214, setting Pakistan a target of 302.

2

Rahat Ali (2 wickets at 146.50)
Brought into the side in place of the injured Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali toiled away but had little success. He bowled 101.3 overs in two Tests, with a strike rate of 304.5 and was dropped for the final Test.

Mohammad Hafeez (113 runs at 37.66)
Recalled to the Test squad on the basis of his ODI form, Hafeez had a poor series. Was dropped for the third Test after scores of 11, 80*, 21 and 1 in the first two matches.

1

Asad Shafiq (61 runs at 15.25)
One of the most promising young Pakistan batsmen, Shafiq was disappointing. The series was a chance for him to maintain his place but scores of 13, 6, 23, 18, 1* did not help his cause.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Desihungama on (January 25, 2014, 1:36 GMT)

Fawad Alam should be an obvious choice in place of Asad Sahfique followed by Sohaib Maqsood and Harris Sohail.

Posted by FSL2013 on (January 24, 2014, 17:23 GMT)

Fast bowlers dont grow on trees that you grab them and they are ready. They need to be given a bit of time to adjust. If you dont count his first test that was called off. This was his debut. I thin he deserves more than 5 for bowling so well on a dead track.

Posted by   on (January 24, 2014, 13:01 GMT)

misbah deserves a 10 for his achievements..asad shafiq is no way promising ..he is just wasting our time and eating away time for the prolific domestic run scorer fawad alam

Posted by   on (January 24, 2014, 9:57 GMT)

@sports4youth: thats what i meant. he should spend at least a full season in domestic and in academy. and from there on if they think that he has improved then may be look for a comeback. but for immediate thing he has to dropped.

Posted by dmqi on (January 24, 2014, 7:57 GMT)

I would bring back Umar Akaml in place of Asad Shafiq. Or Maqsood.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 23, 2014, 16:53 GMT)

@ siabbasi , Khurram S Chaudhry : Some comments here saying that ASAD SHAFIQ has talent but needs some time and conifdence. Wake-up guys he is not an 18 year old teenager. Shafiq is almost 28 now and has been continuesly playing for Pakistan for the last Three years. What time and what confidence? This was supposed to be an easier series after South Africa.

But after what we have seen in the South Africa series, I guess the Pakistani fans should now be ready for anything thing and evertything.

I agree with Salar Ahmed : Pakistan need to bring in FAWAD ALAM, HARRIS SOHAIL & SOHAIB MAQSOOD who have First Class Batting Averges of 55, 52 & 43 respectively. All the other mediocre guys having a batting average of under 40 in FC should not have been in the Test team in the first place. Now that they are exposed after Zimb & SL series they should be dumped immediately and bring in the guys who have proven themselves at the First Class level.

.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2014, 14:42 GMT)

We need to have Haris Sohail, Fawad Alam, Sohaib Maqsood and Umar Akmal in the team on the basis of their first class records. They are going to be our future once Misbah and Younis retire. Our bowling looks very settled with the inclusion of Talha in the team along with Junaid, Ajmal and Abdur Rehman. Irfan's comeback will fill the 3rd seamers position.

Posted by Diaz54 on (January 23, 2014, 12:51 GMT)

Pakistan batsmen are always going to struggle as they are not getting the experience in playing adequate number of test matches compared to other nations. Also no Pak batsmen plays for example county cricket in uk as they did previously. Playing in foreign conditions will help even the development of orridinary batsmen. Pakistan cricket board must try work with SA or other fondly countries for the younger upcoming batsmen to get the required experience. That is the only ya forward. Currently all the batsmen have technical ,failings.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2014, 9:50 GMT)

Asad needs some time in domestic events. He is going no where like this. Coaches should work with him in academy and might spend full season in domestic.

Hafeez: simply not good for test no3. if they have to play him for some reason then may be at7 but not 3.

Ahmed has done quiet well. His only issue was temprament 4 times out of 6, he got out looking for scores and push on. So i think will be a good prospect for future.

Khurram: scored in between. But his issue is technique. his technique can work few times but not all. good fast bowlers will get him caught behind. and he has been falling like that almost every time after his 146.

Rahat Ali: is simply not good enough.

Sarfraz was good and did very well. he should be given more chances in tests for some time.

Ajmal was not even close to his best. poor by his standards.

Positives were Talha, Sarfraz, ahmed. and as usual misbah- younas khan & junaid khan.

Well fought series. but batting still a concern for pakistan.

Posted by Udendra on (January 23, 2014, 5:49 GMT)

Saeed Ajmal got 5 points?? He was made to look an ordinary spinner throughout the whole series, except for couple of sessions!

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