Dubai pitches worry Misbah after crushing Sri Lanka defeat
Dubai: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq expressed his disappointment at not getting turning pitches to play up to his team`s strength after suffering a heavy defeat by Sri Lanka in Dubai on Sunday.
Pakistan went down by nine wickets in the second Test to concede a 1-0 lead in the three-match series after the first Test ended in a draw in Abu Dhabi. That defeat was largely due to the ineffectivenesss of Pakistan`s main weapon Saeed Ajmal, with the off-spinner having bagged only five wickets to show in the two Tests.
Ajmal went wicketless in his 49 overs in the second innings of the first Test. In contrast he took 18 when Pakistan beat Sri Lanka 1-0 in a three-Test series in United Arab Emirates in 2011. Misbah admitted that the pitches were disappointing. "Obviously, we are not getting support as per our strength (of spinners) and that is a worry for us," said a visibly upset Pakistan captain, whose team also lost to South Africa at the same pitch three months ago.
"Obviously groundsmen are preparing pitches but as far as satisfaction, it`s not there because we have not given instructions of such flat tracks. Maybe the groundsmen want to make (our) kind of pitch but they are not able to do that. It is surprising that there was no break here on the pitch, not even on the fifth day and it`s surprising."
Pakistan lost a crucial toss and were bowled out for a paltry 165 in their first innings on a pitch that helped seamers. Sri Lanka gained a big 223-run lead with experienced batsman Mahela Jayawardene notching 129. Pakistan fought hard to score 359 in their second innings but Sri Lanka knocked off the meager 137-run target for the loss of one wicket for their biggest win over Pakistan in 45 Tests.
"Once we lost the crucial toss, as there was lot of moisture on the pitch, we could not really get back in the Test match," admitted Misbah, who scored 97 in the second innings.
Misbah blamed faltering batsmen. "I think the batsmen should have applied themselves more. You could see that there was some seam but still we played some indisciplind shots and that put us in trouble," said Misbah. Pakistan now need to win the third and final Test starting in Sharjah from Thursday to avoid losing their first-ever series in United Arab Emirates. Victorious Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews acknowledged that the Dubai pitch was helpful for batsmen.
"Apart from the first day, this was a regular Dubai wicket. The spinners weren`t that successful on this wicket, it became a bit slow, but still good for the batsmen, as usual," said Mathews, who hit 157 not out to draw the first Test. Mathews said the win was pleasing.
"That`s what cricket is about. You need to keep fighting. I thought we did exactly that in the first Test. This is a wonderful victory with the help of the whole team," said Mathews.
Mathews contended that Pakistan remained a dangerous team. "The Pakistan team is an very good one and against this team you have to play positive cricket because if you give them even a little opportunity they will trample all over us. We played well throughout and won the difficult moments," said Mathews. Mathews praised man-of-the-match Jayawardene.
"He made a huge impact and we all hope that he`ll get better and better and I am sure he`ll play the next match as well," said Mathews of the batsman who played with stitches on his left hand.