Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Pallekele, 3rd day July 5, 2015

I now know my game inside out - Mubarak

Jehan Mubarak was involved in two crucial fifty-plus partnerships in the match © AFP

Jehan Mubarak expressed disappointment at squandering two starts in his first Test in more than seven years, but said he has refined his game enough to now belong at Test level. Mubarak had underwhelmed in several early stints in international cricket, averaging less than 16 from his ten previous Tests. However, a pair of exceptional domestic seasons has seen him selected for the national team again, at 34.

"I did have the opportunities earlier on, but I didn't do enough to cement my place in any form of the game," Mubarak said. "I feel I am a different player from what I was seven years ago. A better player. I have come to know my game inside out. I understand what my strengths, weaknesses and limitations are. I worked on my weaknesses during the club season - I was not a sweeper but I started to sweep against the spinners and use my feet. I was hungrier for runs.

"I always felt I was good enough to play at international level. Still feel I am good enough. Hopefully I can build on from what I have got. I need to step it up a bit more. But I think I can get there."

Mubarak made two modest scores in this match, hitting 25 in the first innings and 35 in the second. However, on each occasion he was involved in fifty-plus partnerships that stemmed the fall of quick wickets. On day three, he put on 81 alongside Angelo Mathews, to lift the team from 80 for 4.

"I think it was very important to build a partnership there. Another wicket down and with five gone, it would have been tough. Pakistan would have been on top and they would have put lot more pressure. The bowlers were bowling really well at that time. The fast bowlers were bowling well with the newer ball and Yasir was bowling his best at that time.

"I felt comfortable in the middle. I'm disappointed to get out after getting a start. Both innings it was a tough situation. I had done the hard work and reached a position from where I can consolidate, but couldn't go on. Second innings I got a good ball out of the rough."

Sri Lanka had lost 22 wickets to Yasir in this series until today, and Mubarak said Mathews' partnerships with him and with Chandimal helped defuse the legspinner's threat. "As a team, we did the right thing by seeing Yasir Shah out. Our plan was to take Yasir to 20 overs and force the loose balls out of him. Then we saw that once he went past 20 overs, there were a few short balls and full tosses.

"We've struggled against him this series - mainly the left-handers. He bowls tight lines with seven fielders on the leg side, and no scoring options."

Mubarak said Sri Lanka would feel comfortable with a further 80 runs on the board. Their lead is already 291 with two full days to play, though the threat of bad weather is ever-present at this venue.

"We'd like to at least bat one session tomorrow. With two days left, there's a result either way. If we can push the game away from Pakistan, we can attack all the time. If we can get something like 350 or 380, that will be a good target I think."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

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