Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, Dubai December 21, 2013

Misbah frustrated by bowling effort

Misbah-ul-Haq laid the blame for Pakistan's two-wicket loss in Dubai at the feet of his bowlers, although he admitted his team could perhaps have scored 15 more runs. Pakistan's 284 for 4 was the second-highest total at the stadium, but they conceded defeat with two balls to spare.

"Looking at the pitch, it was a good total and they were still needing around 50 runs, seven wickets down. We should have won that if we bowled according to the field. We lost the game in a few bad overs.

"The way the ball was coming on the pitch, it wasn't like Sharjah - it was a bit slow. And their bowlers were good at the death, bowling yorkers. That maybe prevented 10-15 runs from us at the end."

Otherwise Misbah chose to focus on the positives in Pakistan's performance. He had called for the top order to convert their starts ahead of the series, and in both matches so far, one of the top three has provided a hundred, while others in the top five have contributed significant scores. Ahmed Shehzad hit 124 in the second match.

"The biggest positive is that the batting is going well. Ahmed, again, it was a really good knock. He played a good one in South Africa and today, it was a mature one. It was good to see our top order getting big scores - that has been much needed for our team. It's normally the biggest problem for us, but I'm really happy with the way it's been going."

While conceding Pakistan's bowling and fielding was flawed, Misbah praised the efforts of Junaid Khan, whose three middle order wickets had brought Pakistan back into the match, and also said he was impressed with the run outs at the top of Sri Lanka's innings.

"Junaid is our outstanding bowler. In the last year and a half he's really improving and today he was good. But we really need to improve our death bowling. It was a problem for us.

"Our fielding was better. It brought us back into the game with the first two run outs. There were a few overthrows towards the end, but there were no lapses. Overall I think it was good."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here