Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 5th ODI, Colombo June 19, 2012

Poor fielding, no Ajmal cost Pakistan - Misbah

ESPNcricinfo staff
28

While Pakistan's decision to leave Saeed Ajmal was a 'costly miss', it was their lapses in the field, once again, that let them down in the final ODI against Sri Lanka, according to captain Misbah-ul-Haq. Pakistan looked to be on top in the match on Monday, after reducing Sri Lanka to 138 for 6 in a chase of 248, but Angelo Mathews and a number of lower-order cameos won the match and series for the hosts in a thrilling last-over finish.

"I think we were about 15-20 runs short, yet were in a better position," Misbah said after the game. "Again there were too many fielding lapses and in my opinion this was the difference." Pakistan had put two catches down, and missed several run outs during the course of the chase.

"In the end Mathews took the game away from our hands," he said. "[Jeevan] Mendis played an excellent innings, even [Nuwan] Kulasekara can bat a bit. We know that Mathews is a very good allrounder, he can finish the game. We thought that if we got Mathews out the game was ours."

Pakistan had not played their premier spinner, Ajmal, opting to play three seamers instead. The conditions prompted this decision, Misbah said. "I think given the conditions [we made that choice], the ball swings in the evening … It's a difficult decision to make, regarding the balance of the team. If we play two regular spinners, we miss the third seamer. Leaving out Ajmal though was a costly miss."

Off the three seamers who played, Sohail Tanvir impressed, taking three wickets - including those of the Sri Lanka openers - for 42. On the contrary, in a game where none of his team-mates went at over 4.80 an over, Mohammad Sami leaked 75 runs from 9.4 overs for no wicket - this was the most expensive spell for a Pakistan bowler in an ODI in Sri Lanka. Bowling the final over, with Sri Lanka needing 15, Sami bowled a length delivery that Mathews dispatched over long-on for six, and followed up with a short of a length ball on off stump that was punched through point for four.

However Misbah, while praising Tanvir's effort, still extented support to Sami. "He [Tanvir] showed good control. In the death overs he used good variety and he really was our strength.

"Sami was in good form coming into this game. He bowled well in the Twenty20s and the first one-dayer. Anyone can have a bad day. He was a bit unlucky."

Another big name not in Monday's playing XI was Younis Khan, one of Pakistan's senior batsmen. Younis, Misbah said, was happy to sit out for the cause of the team. "He was out of form. He's always for the team. He said it was okay to give someone else a chance. Besides, before the Tests it's good for him to get some time off."

Pakistan will now play three Tests on the tour, with the first one beginning in Galle on Friday. The last time Pakistan had lost a Test series was in July-August 2010, when they were beaten by England in England. His team, Misbah said, would do well to remember this fine recent record. "We need to forget about the one-dayers and start afresh. We have done well in Test matches in the last two years. We need to recall those performances and start afresh."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • LALITHKURUWITA on June 20, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    Catches win matches. PAK dropped more catches than SL. The same result can be expected if PAK repeat in TEST matches.

  • 9ST9 on June 20, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    well Pakistan DID miss Ajmal , but of course it can be argued that SL too did not play their front line spinner, Herath. But of course Ajmal is more crucial to Pakistan than Herath is to SL. Nevertheless certainly impressed by SL's pace bowling Malinga, Kulasekara and Perera not to forget the containment job Matthews does. He bowled tidy spells in Australia and continued the same in SL.

  • PAK-92 on June 19, 2012, 23:14 GMT

    We have now lost the last 2 odi series against England and Sri Lanka quite badly and narrowly won the Asia Cup against Bangladesh. Our ODI team is now on the decline, due mainly because of our batsmen. Our bowlers can only do so much. The time is up for Younis Khan, as we have a replacement in Azhar Ali. Hafeez needs to be shifted down the order and Umar Akmal needs to be promoted. And we need Ahmed Shehzad in as an opener and Junaid Khan as second or third seamer. We need to look to the future and not rely on old players. We also need to phase out Misbah as he will not be as good as he is now in the next world cup. Hamad Azam should be given a chance. A good team would be: 1. Ahmed Shehzad 2. Nasir Jamshed/Imran Nazir 3. Azhar Ali 4. Umar Akmal 5. Asad Shafiq/Fawad Alam 6. Mohm Hafeez 7. Hamad Azam/Sarfraz Ahmed 8. Shahid Afridi 9. Umar Gul 10. Saeed Ajmal 11. Junaid Khan/Wahab Riaz This could be a good team with a combination of youth and experience.

  • johnathonjosephs on June 19, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    Fielding, yes, but Ajmal was smashed for runs in the last match. I think the Sri Lankans may have done their homework and are prepared for Ajmal. They weren't for Tanvir, however

  • Zahidsaltin on June 19, 2012, 21:50 GMT

    SHAME IS THE WORD. Not because you lost. But for that fielding and those bowler who after have bowled for about 12 years in international matches, still bowl wide after wide. Sami must be insane as even having capability of bowling at 150 kph he still can't understand that pace without length and swing are even worse.

  • StatisticsRocks on June 19, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Only in Pakistan a match winning bowler like Ajmal can get dropped. Baffling if you ask me. We can only dream of having a bowler of that class. Of all the young bowling talents that Pak have why go back to Sami. Yes, he can bowl fast but fast is not good enough.

  • on June 19, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    TEAM PAKISTAN will continue to under perform as long as there is poor fielding, lack of consistency by bowlers and batsmen. Furthermore, TEAM PAKISTAN do not have batsmen of the calibre of Dilshan, Sangakkara, Mahela and Matthews in their XI. Even if we compare with other top teams we do not have batsmen like Bell, Morgan, Shewag, Ghambir, Tandulkar, Raina, Yuvraj, Sharma, Warner, Clarke, Hussey, Smith, Ambla, Kallis, Gayle and Pollard, just to name a few. The only batsman we have of class in TEAM PAKISTAN is Umar Akmal and the management seems not to be handling him properly. He should play in all formats of the game and always bat at number 4. We also need to find better quality batsmen / all rounders quickly so that players like Hafeez, Yunus Khan and Afridi can be replaced. Azhar, Shafiq, Sarfraz and Misbah are not really ODI players and you cannot expect to win many ODIs if you play all of them in ODI XI.

  • on June 19, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    It was poor and unimaginative captaincy from Misbah. Keeping Sami to bowl last over was a horrible mistake. He was expensive throughout this innings. Dropping Ajmal for Sami was a blunder. Those who are favouring Sami saying that he bowled well in T20 should know that T20 is a different ball game. First ODI was rare lucky day for him. Keeping him for Test matches is another mistake. He is the most expensive regular fast bowler in the world.

  • on June 19, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    Misbah-ul-Haq on Mohammad Sami: "Anyone can have a bad day. He was a bit unlucky."

    How many time he had been lucky, Dear Captain.

  • AnasK on June 19, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    @ Shiraz Ahmad: I think you are not following this series and doing senseless criticism. He took 4 wickets in T20s, which are equal to Tanvir's wickets in same series although Tanvir got the MOS. In first ODI he picked up 3 wickets but unfortunately got his thumb injured. But he deserves to be in team having great pace.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on June 20, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    Catches win matches. PAK dropped more catches than SL. The same result can be expected if PAK repeat in TEST matches.

  • 9ST9 on June 20, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    well Pakistan DID miss Ajmal , but of course it can be argued that SL too did not play their front line spinner, Herath. But of course Ajmal is more crucial to Pakistan than Herath is to SL. Nevertheless certainly impressed by SL's pace bowling Malinga, Kulasekara and Perera not to forget the containment job Matthews does. He bowled tidy spells in Australia and continued the same in SL.

  • PAK-92 on June 19, 2012, 23:14 GMT

    We have now lost the last 2 odi series against England and Sri Lanka quite badly and narrowly won the Asia Cup against Bangladesh. Our ODI team is now on the decline, due mainly because of our batsmen. Our bowlers can only do so much. The time is up for Younis Khan, as we have a replacement in Azhar Ali. Hafeez needs to be shifted down the order and Umar Akmal needs to be promoted. And we need Ahmed Shehzad in as an opener and Junaid Khan as second or third seamer. We need to look to the future and not rely on old players. We also need to phase out Misbah as he will not be as good as he is now in the next world cup. Hamad Azam should be given a chance. A good team would be: 1. Ahmed Shehzad 2. Nasir Jamshed/Imran Nazir 3. Azhar Ali 4. Umar Akmal 5. Asad Shafiq/Fawad Alam 6. Mohm Hafeez 7. Hamad Azam/Sarfraz Ahmed 8. Shahid Afridi 9. Umar Gul 10. Saeed Ajmal 11. Junaid Khan/Wahab Riaz This could be a good team with a combination of youth and experience.

  • johnathonjosephs on June 19, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    Fielding, yes, but Ajmal was smashed for runs in the last match. I think the Sri Lankans may have done their homework and are prepared for Ajmal. They weren't for Tanvir, however

  • Zahidsaltin on June 19, 2012, 21:50 GMT

    SHAME IS THE WORD. Not because you lost. But for that fielding and those bowler who after have bowled for about 12 years in international matches, still bowl wide after wide. Sami must be insane as even having capability of bowling at 150 kph he still can't understand that pace without length and swing are even worse.

  • StatisticsRocks on June 19, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Only in Pakistan a match winning bowler like Ajmal can get dropped. Baffling if you ask me. We can only dream of having a bowler of that class. Of all the young bowling talents that Pak have why go back to Sami. Yes, he can bowl fast but fast is not good enough.

  • on June 19, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    TEAM PAKISTAN will continue to under perform as long as there is poor fielding, lack of consistency by bowlers and batsmen. Furthermore, TEAM PAKISTAN do not have batsmen of the calibre of Dilshan, Sangakkara, Mahela and Matthews in their XI. Even if we compare with other top teams we do not have batsmen like Bell, Morgan, Shewag, Ghambir, Tandulkar, Raina, Yuvraj, Sharma, Warner, Clarke, Hussey, Smith, Ambla, Kallis, Gayle and Pollard, just to name a few. The only batsman we have of class in TEAM PAKISTAN is Umar Akmal and the management seems not to be handling him properly. He should play in all formats of the game and always bat at number 4. We also need to find better quality batsmen / all rounders quickly so that players like Hafeez, Yunus Khan and Afridi can be replaced. Azhar, Shafiq, Sarfraz and Misbah are not really ODI players and you cannot expect to win many ODIs if you play all of them in ODI XI.

  • on June 19, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    It was poor and unimaginative captaincy from Misbah. Keeping Sami to bowl last over was a horrible mistake. He was expensive throughout this innings. Dropping Ajmal for Sami was a blunder. Those who are favouring Sami saying that he bowled well in T20 should know that T20 is a different ball game. First ODI was rare lucky day for him. Keeping him for Test matches is another mistake. He is the most expensive regular fast bowler in the world.

  • on June 19, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    Misbah-ul-Haq on Mohammad Sami: "Anyone can have a bad day. He was a bit unlucky."

    How many time he had been lucky, Dear Captain.

  • AnasK on June 19, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    @ Shiraz Ahmad: I think you are not following this series and doing senseless criticism. He took 4 wickets in T20s, which are equal to Tanvir's wickets in same series although Tanvir got the MOS. In first ODI he picked up 3 wickets but unfortunately got his thumb injured. But he deserves to be in team having great pace.

  • on June 19, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    I still don`t understand why Sami is in the team.He had a poor run in the domestic T20 season and has no control on his line and length.So basically he`s just in the team for his pace.I`ve seen plenty of Aussie domestic bowlers bowl above 140Kph and I`ve not seen a lot in their team unless they prove themselves.Pace is a pathetic excuse to put Sami in the team.No player can score that much in a last over except if he had good pace.Poor decision by Misbah!

  • on June 19, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    Well if Pakistan won the last match with another tight over like Tanvir's ,all this criticism become irrelevant. Cricket is such an unpredictable game.Let us be honest.Pakistan played the last match whole heartedly and few fielding lapses and brilliant batting by Matthews cost them the match.It was a close contest which could have gone either way.They definitely need to improve their fielding and otherwise are equipped with enough ammunition to fire at appropriate times. Let's wait for the test series.No need to panic as this is not the end of the road for them. Hopefully it will be another tightly contested series.All the best.

  • KingOwl on June 19, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    Oh, stop making excuses. It was a really tough chase, in the night at the Premadasa Stadium where conditions favour the bowlers quite a bit in the night. SL won because their batting is superior. Pakistan no doubt has a great bowling attack, but their batting is weak. Those run outs and catches - well, SL missed chances too.

  • khurramsch on June 19, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    i thinkits time to say bye to younas, pakistan fielding was very poor whole tour. they cant catch they cant field.ball was going between legs, xtras wides, then top of that they cant hit wickets for run outs. cant they practice hit wicket during practice sessions? & they need to find a good batting medium pace allrounder to fit in as 3rd seamer & balance batting.afrid is bowling allrounder. going in with 5 bowlers in modern game not a best choice. & then need to find a batting keeper. if we have to live with drops then bring kamran back.

  • Noball_Specialist on June 19, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    Sami had already been knocked for 60 runs prior to his 10th and final over. It was a bit of a bad error from the captain to put him in to bowl such a high pressure over especially when Sami hasn't necessarily got the confidence or the necessary experience to shut the game down there. Misbah should have planned him his bowlers such that a quality bowler remained for the last over. Thing is looking at the team sheet there were not any other bowlers apart from Umar Akmal that could have used his arm. But no guarantee that would have made a difference given Matthew's resolve. He was pretty much intent on winning and well played to him. Absolutely amazingly paced and responsible innings. Well deserved and I'm a fan of Matthews so pleased to see him get some dues. Ajmal is world class. No more needs to be said. Congratulations Sri Lanka, well deserved series win.

  • khurramsch on June 19, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    agree that even sami conceeded 75 runs but pak should have won it its only fielding. But leaving ajmal for a bowler like sami who is never always accurate not a good option. Basically balance of team is not there. We have a keeper who cant bat, No medium pace allrounder who can go as 3rd seamer. Afridi is bowling allrounder. Pakistan fielding getting poor day by day. 3/4 run outs, drops, ball going between legs, all this cost them. going in with only 5 bowlers leave them without options. & also no batting hard hitting allrounder means they couldnt finish off well. umar was slow in end. i think , hafez,afridi,misbah,ajmal + batting keeper( kamran /any1 else) + Batting medium pace allrounder ( hammad/razak/ or find new) + any 2 seamer of gul/junaid/cheema/sohail & 3 of umar/azahar/asad/nasir jamshed/farhat/shehzad.

  • Classy.Nerd on June 19, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    No doubt Pakistan has ALOT to practice for the 3 Tests. Our Test bowling is 9/10, Batting 4/10 and Fielding 4/10...How do you win a 5-day match based just on Bowling ??? Pakistan shouldn't be dreaming of England whitewash in Sri Lanka. This team has high spirits already and they excel alot more than Pakistan.

  • on June 19, 2012, 9:25 GMT

    Misbah on Sami's performance "Anyone can have a bad day". Sami seems to have such bad days pretty much every day he plays for Pakistan. Good for BPL only

  • joseyesu on June 19, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    Is PAK a one man army with Ajmal, like Murali to SR and Sachin to Ind once. What happened to GUL and SAMI after the 1ODI..?

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on June 19, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    DOES NOT MATTER WHAT DA PITCH IS LIKE? UR BEST BOWLER SHUD PLAY EVERY IMPORTANT MATCH

  • on June 19, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    Come on Guys, ayone can have a bad day, Misbah-Ul Haq is a good captain, He will come strongly back in the tests... Atleast 3-5 half centurys any way and even a hundred...

  • on June 19, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    Well in my Opinion totally bad captaincity by Misbah he should use sami wiith Sohail Tanveer in start of the first 15 overs , Umer gul is premium bowler for Pakistan in depth overs specially if u can see his status in t20 format. If he left umer gul overs at the end he can fire some swinging yorkers to mathews and even he is more experienced then sami, second bad selection by Pakistan they should take should go with extra bowler not batsman i mean hafeez is not doing well

  • alikhan224 on June 19, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    I wonder when will the time come when PCB would stop inducting sami in the line-up...his days were gone around 5 yrs back..rana naveed would have been a far better choice with his variations or any other good bowler..sami only wants to bowl quick and he gets punished in nearly every match...and pls stop playing ur hafeez as a batsmen in ODIs...hafeez's average cannot tell u that he is a batting allrounder.we must get rid of him as soon as possible..i think misbah is being very friendly with him and politics have once again damaged pak cricket.

  • DataQue on June 19, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    Wrong selection of players for the match & poor captaincy during the match; cost the game...

  • on June 19, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    out of all the young talent we have in the bowling unit, why bring back a Has-been like Sami? the selectors have no clue about balancing a team,,,,,,poor poor poor,, ,,,,,,its time for Yunis Khan to make way in the ODIs, he has done alot of work and should be left to play tests alone, bring in a young batsman to fill in the gaps,,,,,,why would any captain leave out Ajmal??...Misbah...defense is not the only tactic available!

  • on June 19, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    Will he ever admit his pathetic captaincy ? Pakistan lost the match against India in Asia Cup because of Misbah's poor captaincy and this match too fell prey to his un-understandable decision making. He chose a bowler who was most expensive in the match for the final over. Can anyone ask Misbah what was the logic behind this decision making? Can he tell us why Gul's over was not spared for last over? I think we lost the match not because of Sami but because of poor captaincy.

  • javed.agrawala on June 19, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    Pakistan would do well to retain Sohail Tanwir for the tests as he does bowl those wicket taking balls and keeps a lid on the runs giving. Better than average lower order batting is also there with him!

    Bring back Saeed Ajmal, arguably the best spinner in the world these days plus Abdur Rahman --- a fine left arm bowler. If the fast bowling is compromised for this combination a bit then so be it, regrettably.

    My eleven for the Galle test, injuries and illnesses apart, would be Taufiq Umar, Imran Farhat (yes for spunk), Azhar Ali, Younus Khan (big match player), Misbah, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Sohail Tanwir, Umar Gul, Abdur Rahman, Saeed Ajmal Ajmal.

  • hoodbu on June 19, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    Bring back Mohsin Khan as coach!

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  • hoodbu on June 19, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    Bring back Mohsin Khan as coach!

  • javed.agrawala on June 19, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    Pakistan would do well to retain Sohail Tanwir for the tests as he does bowl those wicket taking balls and keeps a lid on the runs giving. Better than average lower order batting is also there with him!

    Bring back Saeed Ajmal, arguably the best spinner in the world these days plus Abdur Rahman --- a fine left arm bowler. If the fast bowling is compromised for this combination a bit then so be it, regrettably.

    My eleven for the Galle test, injuries and illnesses apart, would be Taufiq Umar, Imran Farhat (yes for spunk), Azhar Ali, Younus Khan (big match player), Misbah, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Sohail Tanwir, Umar Gul, Abdur Rahman, Saeed Ajmal Ajmal.

  • on June 19, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    Will he ever admit his pathetic captaincy ? Pakistan lost the match against India in Asia Cup because of Misbah's poor captaincy and this match too fell prey to his un-understandable decision making. He chose a bowler who was most expensive in the match for the final over. Can anyone ask Misbah what was the logic behind this decision making? Can he tell us why Gul's over was not spared for last over? I think we lost the match not because of Sami but because of poor captaincy.

  • on June 19, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    out of all the young talent we have in the bowling unit, why bring back a Has-been like Sami? the selectors have no clue about balancing a team,,,,,,poor poor poor,, ,,,,,,its time for Yunis Khan to make way in the ODIs, he has done alot of work and should be left to play tests alone, bring in a young batsman to fill in the gaps,,,,,,why would any captain leave out Ajmal??...Misbah...defense is not the only tactic available!

  • DataQue on June 19, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    Wrong selection of players for the match & poor captaincy during the match; cost the game...

  • alikhan224 on June 19, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    I wonder when will the time come when PCB would stop inducting sami in the line-up...his days were gone around 5 yrs back..rana naveed would have been a far better choice with his variations or any other good bowler..sami only wants to bowl quick and he gets punished in nearly every match...and pls stop playing ur hafeez as a batsmen in ODIs...hafeez's average cannot tell u that he is a batting allrounder.we must get rid of him as soon as possible..i think misbah is being very friendly with him and politics have once again damaged pak cricket.

  • on June 19, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    Well in my Opinion totally bad captaincity by Misbah he should use sami wiith Sohail Tanveer in start of the first 15 overs , Umer gul is premium bowler for Pakistan in depth overs specially if u can see his status in t20 format. If he left umer gul overs at the end he can fire some swinging yorkers to mathews and even he is more experienced then sami, second bad selection by Pakistan they should take should go with extra bowler not batsman i mean hafeez is not doing well

  • on June 19, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    Come on Guys, ayone can have a bad day, Misbah-Ul Haq is a good captain, He will come strongly back in the tests... Atleast 3-5 half centurys any way and even a hundred...

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on June 19, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    DOES NOT MATTER WHAT DA PITCH IS LIKE? UR BEST BOWLER SHUD PLAY EVERY IMPORTANT MATCH

  • joseyesu on June 19, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    Is PAK a one man army with Ajmal, like Murali to SR and Sachin to Ind once. What happened to GUL and SAMI after the 1ODI..?