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

Poor fielding, no Ajmal cost Pakistan - Misbah

ESPNcricinfo staff

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

  • Lalith 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.

  • sachit 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.

  • Nazim 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.

  • Johnathon 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

  • shahid 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.

  • Subash 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Anas 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.

  • No featured comments at the moment.