Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Dubai, 5th day

Loss exposes Pakistan frailties

It is hard to pin-point one single reason for Pakistan's capitulation in Dubai; there were many chinks in their armour

Umar Farooq

January 12, 2014

Comments: 52 | Text size: A | A

Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have a drink, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Dubai, 3rd day, January 10, 2014
Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan continue to shoulder the burden of scoring runs © AFP
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Where is the home advantage, asks Misbah

  • The unresponsive pitches in the UAE that have not played out to Pakistan's strengths have left the team disappointed and bewildered. After losing the second Test against Sri Lanka in Dubai, Misbah-ul-Haq said flat pitches were not what he had wanted and it blunted the home advantage.
  • "Obviously, we are not getting support as per our strength [of spinners] and that is a worry for us," Misbah said. "The PCB is not preparing pitches, obviously the curator [in UAE] is preparing pitches. But as far as satisfaction goes, it's not there because we have not given instructions for such flat tracks.
  • "Maybe the groundsman wants to make another kind of pitch but they are not able to do that. It is surprising that there is no turn here on the pitch. Normally the pitches here help spin, on the second or third day but even on the fifth day the pitch did not spin."

Pakistan entered day five amid prediction of heavy rain in Dubai and although thick clouds prevailed over the stadium all day, the rain never came down. Pakistan may have considered themselves unfortunate, but they were out-batted and out-bowled by an efficient Sri Lankan team that beat them by nine wickets - their biggest win in terms of wickets, against Pakistan. The home team may have walked out with positives after the draw in Abu Dhabi, however, the loss in Dubai, once again, exposed a number of chinks in the Pakistan team.

Top-order conundrum
Pakistan's top order was praised for their contribution in the first Test but their failure in the second means the team will have to take a fresh look at their options. The No. 3 position remains a talking point after Mohammad Hafeez, drafted back into the Test side after a stellar run in the ODIs, couldn't reprise the same form, scoring 21 and 1 in the second Test. Ahmed Shehzad's introduction as an opener didn't work either; the move disturbed the left-right combination of Khurram Manzoor and Shan Masood which had set-up Pakistan's win against South Africa in Abu Dhabi in November.

Middle-order frailties
Pakistan's over-reliance on Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq is no secret and it's high time other batsmen started delivering. The technically sound Asad Shafiq, who scored a century against South Africa at the same venue three months back, has been struggling since. Though he played some elegant back-foot shots on the fourth day, he wasn't able to stay for an extended period; he contributed 6 and 23.

The overworked workhorse
Saeed Ajmal has toiled for 114.2 overs in the two Tests in this series and conceded 248 runs. On top of the workload, he also took a blow on his foot while batting in the second innings. It can be argued that Sri Lanka batsmen played him with caution and neutralised him well, but he did look off-colour with his line and length.

The ineffective seamer
Rahat Ali, who went into the series as the second seamer, failed to make an impact in the two Tests. His inability to pick up wickets was excused by the captain, the coach and the team manager, who suggested the bowler had been unlucky. But for someone who bowled more than 100 overs in the series for just two wickets, it can't be just about luck. It also points to the lack of skill.

The flat tenure
Dav Whatmore's tenure as the coach of Pakistan is soon coming to an end; he is with the team for another nine days. In the two years with Whatmore at the helm, Pakistan didn't show any signs of improvement and failed to win a single Test series. The record will leave a blot on Whatmore's coaching credentials.

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

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Posted by rezauk on (January 14, 2014, 11:12 GMT)

Creatiing a fine test Squad is down to the selectors ,Coach and Captain plus some input from vice captain ? To play test cricket you need many skills being Technical , concentration , fitness , agression etc and a bit of the x factor. This could be the reason why players with average FC stats are given a chance - Obviously when this hasn't worked repetitively then accept it , be brave and bring in the guys with the highest batting averages because logically they deserve their chance. Secondly when Pakistan bowl well and in several cases have had the opps at 50-5 you need to keep attacking if a partnership builds. Too many times Misbah has dropped the field giving single after single. Batting wise too leads of 100+ and players are batting too defensively allowing the field to be brought in and creating pressure on yourselves. Although I believe Misbah deserves his place in the Team hs should be forced to resign and get an intelligent Captain in who will back his players to attack

Posted by keptalittlelow on (January 14, 2014, 11:12 GMT)

@Nadeem Sharifuddin, my friend why you blame poor Dave Whatmore for not doing much for Pak Cricket, the real blame goes to the people who brought him in to do this to Pak Cricket, lets not discuss the money involved..

Posted by keptalittlelow on (January 14, 2014, 10:59 GMT)

I don't think blaming pitches or the coach will get Pakistan very far, Pakistan Cricket has much deeper issues, unless and until PCB gets rid of the old guards who did nothing to improve the basic domestic structure of Pakistan Cricket in the last 25 years. We need to lay the foundations of a sound modern domestic structure to nurture the talent like India and Sri Lanka have done. Quite frankly India and Sri Lanka are far ahead of Pakistan in all facets of Cricketing development.

Posted by   on (January 14, 2014, 6:22 GMT)

Blame goes to MIsbah, the team management and the selectors. ABDUL HAFEEZ is a very good Limited overs player and a poor test player. Accept it and drop him already. WHere are FAWAD ALAM and HARIS SOHAIL? When will they get an extended run in tests?

Posted by Yuosufahmed on (January 14, 2014, 3:18 GMT)

@ VKohlitheGreat : You are describing how a test match should be won which was lacking in our team in this match and your team in fast bouncy pitches more frequently. Grow up men...

Posted by Yuosufahmed on (January 14, 2014, 2:35 GMT)

@ VKohlitheGreat : You are describing how a test match should be won which was lacking in our team in this match and your team in fast bouncy pitches more frequently. Grow up man...

Posted by Malti65 on (January 13, 2014, 20:40 GMT)

Posted by Lakkhitha Gunathilaka on (January 13, 2014, 18:46 GMT)

I feel shezad can be given mr opportunities and use umar as d keepr and maqsood and shan masood in for hafeez manzoor.. :

IT LOOKS QUITE OBVIOUS THAT YOU ARE PAINED BY THE 74 THAT SARFRAZ HIT IN THE SECOND INNINGS, THAT IS WHY YOU WANT UMAR AS WICKET KEEPER.

Posted by   on (January 13, 2014, 18:46 GMT)

I feel shezad can be given mr opportunities and use umar as d keepr and maqsood and shan masood in for hafeez manzoor..

Posted by   on (January 13, 2014, 18:07 GMT)

we will never miss dave whatmore. i always used to say that dave what more you need from PCB. how much money dave you need so that we can win a single test series. you also lost against Zimbabwe which is pathetic.

Posted by asim229 on (January 13, 2014, 16:33 GMT)

Blaming pitches for the loss doesn't make any sense to me because Srilanka is a subcontinent team which can play spin very well and their bowling strengths is similar to Pakistan.I thought paks strength is fast bowling:)I am sure that if it was a turning track then Herath would have bundled pak batting cheaply given their fragilities and Lakmal would still have got a few wickets so don't blame wickets. Also UAE is the best option pak have outside pak bcse of the pak community and similar pitch conditions and pak have always done much better in UAE so changing to a different country will backfire.Also pls don't blame Hafeez for the loss bcse it was the management who was begging him to stay after his couple of centuries and he missed the BBL money and the T20 experience before leading the side to T20WC.

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