Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd Test, SSC August 18, 2014

Pakistan outplayed by Herath - Misbah


Pakistan have not won a Test series since beating England 3-0 in the UAE more than two years ago. Since then, they have won three Tests out of 15 and lost nine. Playing Tests after a gap of more than six months, their winless run continued as they were whitewashed by Sri Lanka for the first time. Misbah-ul-Haq said that his team was mainly outplayed by the brilliance of Rangana Herath.

"Credit should be given to them the way they outplayed us but I still feel Herath was the only difference," Misbah said. "It's always difficult to take 2-0 defeat in Test cricket. It's a part of the game but you haven't lost to a low-ranked team. Sri Lanka are a fine side and recently won a series against England. So they have been playing well. Losing to them isn't really a humiliation as they played better cricket them us.

Herath was the name that dominated the Pakistan camp both on and off the field. He picked nine wickets in the first innings at SSC and another five in the second. Apart from Sarfraz Ahmed, who has played only eight Tests, none of the Pakistan batsmen were comfortable facing him. Over the last 10 years, Pakistan have given away 88 wickets to Herath.

Asked if Pakistan had a weakness against the left-arm spin of Herath, Misbah said, "We played him pretty well in last series in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but this time he bowled very well and was totally a different bowler. That created a problem for us. We have played him better in the past."

"Sarfraz was exceptional against him. I think it's a case of one of the batsmen finding a tough bowler easy while others find it difficult. He was really confident and is presently at his best form. He has played some special innings since Sharjah. He has really become a very good batsman."

Pakistan fought well during the first three days of the SSC Test but suffered a second-innings batting collapse, just like in Galle. Rather than being critical of the batsmen, Misbah suggested the team to move on.

"You only learn from your defeats and its not like we played bad cricket," he said. "We did play good cricket but they were little bit better than us. When you lose 2-0 or 1-0 - it's no different. You try to improve with every game you play and move on. Still there are positives for us."

Misbah said that after losing the Galle Test in the dying minutes, they were confident of making a comeback. "We were positive about the game as we had already gone down in series (before coming to SSC)," he said. "We tried to get them right from the start but lost our way. Herath's spell downed us and his two wickets with the new ball (in the second innings) really hurt us."

Misbah might have brought a much-needed stability to the team but Pakistan's track record in the last two years has had mixed results. They entered the series as the No. 3 Test team and dropped to six after the loss. Misbah said that every team played to win but losses were also part of the game. "Even Sri Lanka lost the home series against South Africa," he said. "It's an ongoing thing. You win, you lose. The beauty is you bounce back hard and try to win the upcoming series."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Garolian on August 19, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    Herath has been the chief destroyer of Pakistan for a number of years. The bogey man.One time Pakistan lost 6 wickets for 18 runs and lost a match they should have won. You would think that failing against him so consistently the Pakistani batsman would have got a plan to play him. But no! They predictably make the same movements, the same mistakes, time and again, with the same results.They are like Einstein's definition of idiots. Doing the same actions but expecting different results. They should stop complaining that they have no domestic international cricket , therefore they are failing to improve. They are NEVER going to have domestic International Cricket anymore. Just face life without it.

  • Hammad on August 19, 2014, 6:14 GMT

    'You win few and lose most' is more like it for Team Pakistan at the moment. ' Win some and lose some' is only against Zimbabwe. The only new blood in the team Sarfraz showed how it's done. What we really need is a youth injection. Get the 2 openers from U19 team, Sami Aslam and Haq. Misbah needs to step down. Asad Shafique, oh what do I say about him, class??? what class?? that mediocre lazy batsman cannot induce any consistant dependancy for over 3-4 years now. Give Wahab Riaz that much time and I am sure he will also be making consistant 20-30s, I am not talking about Wahab's useless bowling. Get your most consistant performer in domestic and international circuit back in the test side, Fawad Alam. Hammad Azam deserves a call-up being a pure all rounder.

  • syed on August 19, 2014, 5:54 GMT

    Dear Chief selector of Pakistan, Plz as you know that our openers are not play great in the first test so why you Not give the chance to shan Masood.Ahmed Shehzad is not a test player..He is for odi and T20 only.Openers are shan masood and khurram manzoor for test only...Thankyou Kindly accept my comment moeen khan

  • Steven on August 19, 2014, 3:42 GMT

    Pakistan well it's never boring when you watch them I'll give them that much safraaz has showed everyone why playing positive works better then blocking all the time like most of the other Pakistan batsmen tried to do safraaz wasn't slogging but rotating the strike is important it takes the pressure of you plus your more likely to get abad ball by doing that sounds like safraaz got the balance right and therefore he got the benefits from doing that I don't know why more batsmen don't do that even when your trying to save the game scoring runs is still important you get to safety far quicker by rotating the strike and scoring runs

  • adeel on August 19, 2014, 2:23 GMT

    "It's an ongoing thing. You win, you lose. The beauty is you bounce back hard and try to win the upcoming series."

    just like you did in the 2nd test, right?!

    looks like sarfraz ahmed ignored the advice given to him on how to play hareth. thats why he did so well..all the others took who ever gave them the advice!

  • vivian on August 18, 2014, 20:04 GMT

    I am a Sri Lankan what I thought is 282 was a moderate target to chase but Pak batsmen just throw away their wickets and surrender. It was Pak's game and they didn't just show up and ultimately lost the game. What amazed me is why the sub cont. batsmen are struggling for spin bowling. Pak for Herath and IND for Moeen Ali.

  • Android on August 18, 2014, 18:57 GMT

    i dont think its only captain which is the issue. we can as usual put everything on captain and change him but keep playing same pkayers. apart from sarfraz no one did much younas made 177 but not to forget he was not reviews at 20. other wise it was 54 in 4 innings. khurrams shots in all 4 innings were poor. ahmed plays ok for a while ans then throw it away. azhar is also going downwards. asad is 30s 40s player. bowlers and even highly rated ajmal is not effective anymore. in this match , top 3 thrown their starts away in 1st innings and lost initiative. in 2 nd innings , top 5 scored only 39 out of 271. thats less than 8 per batsman. the margin of defeat was 105.

    pak team need alot of changes with captain. not only captain. new formula of moen- waqar- mushtaq- flower has failed so far.

  • Azure on August 18, 2014, 18:41 GMT

    I cant understand purpose of statements or acknowledgements that, "Herath was the difference, or SL played better than us". Or does Misbah saying he and Pak played poorly as usual. He seem to give too much credit to Herath. Fact is he and all Pak bastmen except Sarfaraz had usual brain freeze against opposition. Why SL did not capitulate against Saeed because they work on him and Pak batsmen were not able to. Misbah will say same thing after loosing against SA and next series and next series....till Pak has a captain who does not seek comfort in defeats.

  • shahid on August 18, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    I will buy his words when he says you win some you lose some, even I'll say results can't be better than the quality we have. But what irritates me most is when he says, we will learn from defeats. He is 40 and he wants to learn from defeats? For God sake

  • P on August 18, 2014, 17:33 GMT

    As usual Misbah's defensive mind set continues, you can't change a 40 years old man's mind set. He can say whatever in the interview after every match lost but it is so obvious that first change Pakistani team immediately need is the change of captain. How long more PCB will keep on dragging a 40 years old player as a captain when there is no place for Misbah in any format of the game even as a player. Why people can't see the facts or why they are denying facts?. It is already too late, Misbah should have out of the team at least 2 years back. Make Yunis Khan test team captain, make Afridi captain of limited over formats. Give proper chances to deserving and talented players like Fawad Alam, Anwer Ali, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahzaib Hassan etc. Groom Sarfraz, or Fawad Alam or Asad Shafiq as future captain. Afridi must be Pakistan's team captain in up coming world cup otherwise just like last T20 world cup Pakistani team will not make up even into semi final.

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