Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Pallekele, 3rd day July 10, 2012

Whatmore disappointed Pakistan didn't 'capitalise'

Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore has said his side has conceded the advantage they had coming into the third day of the Pallekele Test. Sri Lanka began the day on 44 for 3, after Pakistan had made 226 in the first innings, and managed to bat out the first session without losing a wicket.

They finished with a lead of 111, courtesy some dogged batting from Tharanga Paranavitana and Thilan Samaraweera, an attacking innings from Thisara Perera and lapses in the field from Pakistan. The visitors ended the day at 27 for one, having lost opener Taufeeq Umar for four and still trailing by 84 runs on the lively Pallekele pitch.

"The position we are now in, we [have] really got to fight very hard with the bat in the second innings," Whatmore said. "I thought the first hour the pitch didn't misbehave but it really gave some encouragement to the bowlers. Unfortunately we weren't able to capitalise. It was disappointing not to pick up a wicket, particularly in that first hour. The first session was clearly Sri Lanka's.

"It's a good wicket now, offering something for the bowlers and the [batsmen]. It's not about just taking time out of the game, but scoring runs as well. It's the old fashioned way - work hard, get a start and then maximise."

Whatmore defended captain Misbah-ul-Haq's decision to set a defensive field once Sri Lanka's batsmen has settled in. "In the heat of battle, when things are going their way, you just need to try and stop the runs as well as take wickets. It's not an easy situation. It [the game] was really taken away from us in that last session."

Pakistan's catching once again let them down, with three missed chances - two in the slips and a return catch. On all occasions, the bowler was Umar Gul.

"They were tough catches later in the day, but it's got to be taken," Whatmore said. "The slip catches have been good, it [those drops] was a little bit of a surprise for me. Our slips cordon is pretty decent, but it wasn't today."

Thisara Perera was the biggest beneficiary. He was dropped twice, by Gul off his own bowling on 11 and by Misbah-ul-Haq at first slip on 22. He made Pakistan pay; after arriving at the crease with the score on 204 for 6, he added 133 with the lower order and was the final batsman to fall.

"[Thisara] is fairly new to international cricket. It will take time for teams to have a true appreciation of the damage he can do," Whatmore said. "It will be harder for him in the second and third year. From what we've seen now, he is a real physical presence for the home team and a thorn for the visiting team. He's a strong boy and thrives on brute strength."

For Pakistan, Junaid Khan was the biggest positive - he picked up his second five-for in the series. His 'competitiveness' made him special, Whatmore said. "Junaid has been a bit of a revelation for us. The first time I've seen him play and he has been a terrific competitor. He has that ingredient that all good players have, that real fierce competitiveness - you can feel that when you talk to him.

"He has got some skill and he has got a big engine: he runs all day and he is fit, and he'll only get better. He did a really good job under very difficult conditions at the SSC and he has carried on here."

Pakistan have been handicapped by a finger injury to their wicketkeeper, Adnan Akmal, who, Whatmore said, may have to come out and bat if required. Taufeeq Umar kept in Akmal's absence, and did not have the best of days, allowing 16 byes. But how Taufeeq coped in a tough situation should be commended, Whatmore said.

"Wicketkeeping is a specialised position and when you haven't got that person in the team it's unfortunate … But Taufeeq battled hard for us, although we gave away a lot of extras. Somebody had to put the gloves for us, so he did a pretty decent job."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lalith on July 11, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    This lead is too much for SL. SL will loose no doubt.

  • Dummy4 on July 11, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    poor cricketing technique from pakistan !!

  • Lalith on July 11, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    The game is in balance but If PAKS do not throw away SL will loose as batting in the 4th innings is very difficult.

  • Lalith on July 11, 2012, 3:14 GMT

    Get Jonthy Rhodes as Fielding coach. If PAK had him Pak would have won the series by now.

  • Prashan on July 11, 2012, 0:58 GMT

    @Philip_Gnana, Sri Lanka have done well overseas in the past many months. We beat South Africa in a test match in December last year, played well to draw 2 tests in England last year, won 2 ODIs in SA this year, made it to the CB series finals in Australia this year etc. So you are wrong to say our overseas record is dismal.

  • Philip on July 10, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    Sri Lanka have regrouped well after their dismal showing overseas over the past 15 months. Pakistan need to realise that they had the rub of the green in the last match due to a blunder. It could have so easily been a case of Pakistan having been on the back foot in the last Test if SL had batted. The fielding has always been an area of weakness for Pakistan, and this is why they are in this position in this game. Beating both England and Sri Lanka in the series in UAE, does not mean that they could expect the same when playing in Sri Lanka at home. Phil Gnana, Surrey

  • Dummy4 on July 10, 2012, 20:57 GMT

    The mixture of T20, ODI and then Tests has got to be right. You cannot be playing and shifting from one format to another in quick succession as it affects the emntal make of a player. This is whats happening to this Pakistan team now, too much of other matches than Tests.

  • Bored on July 10, 2012, 20:06 GMT

    I am personally a big fan of the sheer talent pool that Pak has. I honestly think Misbah has done a fantastic job as captain of this team and in harnessing that talent. If Pakistan gets the kind of opportunities that are provided to the other teams to play, I'm definitely sure that Pak can and will return to its status as a cricketing superpower especially with the raw talent that they possess in the current team. But the one thing that has plagued Pakistan incredibly in the past few months is their fielding. They really need a LOT of work in that dept!

  • Al on July 10, 2012, 19:18 GMT

    Whatmore and his team have done well so far in Sri Lanka. Its not easy for any team to win any series in SL and Pakistan have been playing on an even Stevens basis all along. Always thought Whatmore was a very effective and level headed coach, likeable and successful too.

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