Confidence up after Galle win - Misbah
Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has said the win in the first Test in Galle has helped his side regain confidence and got rid of the nervousness they felt ahead of the series. He also said that offspinner Mohammad Hafeez, who was reported for a suspect action in the first Test, could still have a significant role to play in Colombo.
"We got a lot of confidence from the first Test and we just want to carry that momentum in the second Test here," Misbah said. "Every series and match is on a new day and you can't just live in the past. From two years, we were playing good cricket but we haven't been able to win here, so with the victory in Galle all the nervousness is gone.
"You can't just change many things in just two days but regardless of anything we all know that Sri Lanka is a tough competitor at their home ground and we are not taking them lightly. There is no sense of complacency at all and we can't even afford that. We still have a winning spirit but at the same time we have to be wary about the opponent."
Misbah said it was frustrating to see Hafeez being reported yet again though he recently cleared his action. However, he will play in Colombo before being released for the third Test in Pallekele. "The good thing is he can still bowl in this Test match and that's the plus for us, but it's really disappointing that he just came after clearing his test and now is again on the radar.
"I mean this will go on like that if we don't have technology to assess the bowler's action during the game as there would be a lot of ifs and buts in the bowler's and the team's mind questioning what's going on. We are again relying on the naked eye so sometimes it could be frustrating for a player being called again. But Hafeez still has a role to play and we are looking forward to it."
Until the Galle Test, Pakistan's last win in Sri Lanka was in 2006. Last year, Rangana Herath alone outclassed them. Pakistan, though, responded well against him in the previous Test, not only by giving him just one wicket but also scoring briskly against him. But Misbah said he knew Herath could be a threat and that his team will have to guard against complacency.
"We have to respect him and everybody knows that he [Herath] is a top performer," Misbah said. "He could be a threat, it's a new game and we have to start over again, tackling him with a more focused technique. We know that we can't take him for granted merely on the basis of the Galle Test so we have to be careful, as we know he is capable of making a strong comeback."
The pitch at the P Sara Stadium is one of the best pitches in South Asia in terms of obtaining results over the past 20 years. Each of the last eight Tests at the venue have led to results, and only one of the past 12 matches has ended in a draw. The pitch until the eve of Test had a lot of grass on the top, appearing supportive for the seamers but likely to offer turn for the spinners as the game progresses.
Pakistan's bowlers looked threatening in the first Test with Junaid Khan being the only weak link, but Misbah said he had no confusion with the make-up of his side ahead of the match.
"I haven't had a final look at the pitch. Yesterday it looked like a good pitch and we know that it helps the seamers but it also has something for the spinners as well. But let's see how it goes and we will take a decision after giving a final look. But at the same time there is no confusion, we are very clear what we have to do.
"There is always a surprise factor when a bowler plays for the first time against any opponent. This is exactly what happened in the first Test as both Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah were playing for the first time against Sri Lanka and that really made a difference."
Misbah paid tribute to his team-mate Younis Khan, who will play his 100th Test, in Colombo. "He is the backbone and a very special member of the Pakistan team. Playing 100 Tests is a huge achievement whoever you represent. He is a top batsman for Pakistan at the moment and brings a lot of value to the team. He brings a lot of good, positive energy and has given great performances for the country."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson