Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi, 2nd day January 1, 2014

Graham Ford rues Sri Lanka's missed review


Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford has rued the missed opportunity to review an lbw shout against Misbah-ul-Haq, soon after tea on day three, in Abu Dhabi.

Suranga Lakmal had struck Misbah in front of middle stump, but above the knee roll, as Misbah batted on 76. But despite having their reviews replenished two overs prior, under the new rules, Sri Lanka chose not to challenge the decision. Lakmal appealed vociferously, but did not appear confident that the decision would not be overturned on review. Replays showed it would have been worth the question. Misbah would go on to a fifth Test ton, and remain unbeaten on 105 at stumps. He had also been dropped on 69 by Mahela Jayawardene.

"I was also happy with the performance of our young fast bowlers who stuck to the task and just kept working hard, but I thought they were a little bit unlucky," Ford said. "There was a review that we should have asked for, but everybody on the field thought since it was a new ball, there would be enough bounce to take it over the stumps, in that particular delivery. Unfortunately we didn't take that review."

Misbah and Younis Khan put on 218 runs together to effectively bat Sri Lanka out of the match, but Pakistan had been 83 for 3 when they came together at the crease. Younis was the more positive of the pair, hitting 136 from 198, and offering no solid chances before he was dismissed late in the day.

"You have to give credit to the way Misbah and, particularly, Younis played. When they came in the match was pretty much in the balance with three wickets down - we had a chance of really getting in, had we taken quick wickets at that stage. They absorbed pressure fantastically well, and then they put us under pressure later on.

"Our fast bowlers have bowled in Test cricket after long time, and as the day went on they had some good spells. Unfortunately their two batsmen played exceptionally well to neutralise our efforts."

Ford also said the pitch had become easier to bat on since Sri Lanka were bowled out for 204 on day one. Eight Sri Lanka wickets had been taken by Pakistan's pace bowlers, after the hosts had bowled first on a green surface.

"History tells you that generally in this ground days two and three are probably the best time to bat. This time around yesterday it was a pretty tough track to bat on. It had a bit of moisture and spongy bounce, which some of our batsmen found tough. Today it felt a lot more settled. I'm sure as the Test goes on there will be more in it for spin bowlers. That will be another challenge for the batsmen."

Pakistan's quick men had bowled good lines on day one, but Sri Lanka's batsmen had also contributed to the collapse by playing poor strokes. Ford said discussions on their performance had already been had.

"If you score around 200 in the first innings, you're going to have to fight pretty hard to get back on even terms. It was very disappointing and we have gone back and spoken about the batting. We lost the toss and the openers did a pretty good job in the first session, and we were hoping for a solid second session, but a couple of quick wickets fell and things didn't go to plan.

"Pakistan came out and really bent their backs and put the new batters under pressure. I think the little bit of extra bounce unsettled one or two of our players, and we played at balls that we shouldn't have played at. Those are things that the batting coach has addressed with some of the players and we'll have more of a chat tomorrow."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manoj on January 2, 2014, 8:55 GMT

    It is sad to see SL players are also following our flat track bulies and overhyped legends. I can't believe this same team managed to beat SA in SAn backyard where our highly ranked team was humiliated in both the tests and ODIs.

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    The problem is that Sri Lanka simply don't play enough tests. The entire ICC schedule is full of matches to India, Australia and England with the other teams getting barely any matches at all. After not having played a test match since March its just not practical to expect Sri Lanka to perform well considering the opening batsmen haven't got enough match practice nor have the bowlers. We can't keep relying on Sanga and Mahela to bail SL out of trouble everytime. More test matches and less T20 is definitely the need of the hour.

  • Taimur on January 2, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    Sri Lanka got every right to review, in real time it seemed it hit above knee roll and was going to go over the stumps, Umpires cant suggest players to "review buddy" SL is good team. start of the game i looked pak bowling i was disappointed to see Rahat in 11, this is crap why would you keep Gul out and play Rahat, just because Waqar said its early for him to play test, why dont Pak makes waqar selector then? Good Bhatti clicked and thanks to Junaid as usual they packed SL quickly. But there is 2nd inning as well and SL is good team to bounce back. See what happened last time in Abu Dhabi first test, same situation and SL managed draw. Misbah with defencive approach not winning, he should have learnt his lessons. but seems not yet.... Anyway, Good Luck, i may not please many pakis but in my opinion every game should be played to win and put in 100% efort to win with your best playing 11.....

  • Rohan on January 2, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    @ Messa1 : Agreed with you buddy, they dont get selected to the playing XI anyway, all they do is sit there for two months to get paid a bomb.

  • Johann on January 2, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    Pakistan played good cricket. They have good bowlers and good batsmen. We have some hyped legends and some useless batsmen. Accept that.

  • Manesh on January 2, 2014, 5:33 GMT

    Ford should have question the class of his bowlers and fielders than coming with these type of excuses. There is a vast gap between international test team and a club level team like this.

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2014, 2:35 GMT

    wow 'we may have got him if he had reviewed and if it had been out" clutching at straws!

  • Harris on January 2, 2014, 1:24 GMT

    I'm predicting 3-0 in Pakistan's favour!

  • Saranga on January 1, 2014, 23:54 GMT

    It seems Sri Lanka has been ignoring the test match format and never puts a serious effort into improving the game and only focusing on ODI's and T20s.

  • Mesith on January 1, 2014, 23:23 GMT

    @ safwan_tauseef 100% agree with u buddy. Our Lankan players should stop going to that useless IPL and start playing more tests and ODI's with competitive nations like Pakistan

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