Pakistan cricket captain Misbah-ul-Haq stretches his arms during a practice session ahead of the 2nd test cricket match against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Friday, June 29, 2012. (AP)
Captain Misbah-ul-Haq will return from suspension to bolster
Pakistan's under-pressure batting lineup for the second of three tests against
Sri Lanka starting on Saturday.
Misbah missed the series opener for a slow over rate offense as the Sri Lankans
took a 1-0 lead with a 209-run win at Galle after Pakistan was bowled out for
100 in its first innings. Only three touring batsmen reached double figures in
its first innings, although the Pakistanis did improve to post 300 in the
But Sri Lanka's victory was built on its hefty 472 batting first and Misbah
said there had to be improvement from Pakistan's bowlers as well at Sinhalese
Sports Club, where the home team hasn't lost a test since 2004.
Misbah said Pakistan's batting was "an issue" in the first test but
the bowlers also had to lift their game against a Sri Lankan batting order that
traditionally dominates at home and especially at Colombo.
A century by Tillakaratne Dilshan and an unbeaten 199 from Kumar Sangakkara set
up Sri Lanka's strong win in the first test as Pakistan's bowlers, with the
exception of offspinner Saeed Ajmal, struggled.
"Batting obviously was an issue in Galle. But before that, when you let
someone score 500 runs you are always under pressure and you are almost out of
the game," Misbah said. "We have to consider that fact as well on a
bowling point of view. It's really important we take 20 wickets. We have to
just improve in our bowling as well."
Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene said Misbah's return would be a major help
to Pakistan, with the captain set to provide allround guidance as well as
experience in the heart of the tourists' batting after seeing out a one-match
suspension from the final one-day game.
"He is an experienced guy and he is a very calm character. His calm
influence will benefit Pakistan," Jayawardene said.
Fast bowler Dilhara Fernando was recalled to Sri Lanka's squad in place of
injured left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara, who has not recovered from the
shoulder problem that kept him out of the opening test.
Misbah returned to take captaincy duties back from opener Mohammad Hafeez, who
can focus on his batting after he failed in both innings in Pakistan's heavy
loss at Galle.