Pakistan go into the second Test against Sri Lanka today trailing 1-0 but with the knowledge that their captain Misbahul Haq will be part of the playing-eleven.
Misbah, who was suspended for a slow over-rate in the final One-Day International, watched from the sidelines as his team lost its first Test since going down to the West Indies in May 2011. The win gave Sri Lanka a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and put Pakistan in danger of losing their first series since the infamous England tour in 2010.
However, Misbah was aware of the stakes and vowed an improved show after the tourists were inflicted their heaviest defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka, going down by 209 runs.
“We need to regroup and put our 100% effort and try and win this game,” said Misbah. “You can’t worry about the games you lose but you need to put all your effort and win the next one. When you let someone score close to 500 runs, you’re always under pressure and you’re almost out of the game. We have to consider that fact as well.”
While Misbah’s return might mean the ouster of Mohammad Ayub, tactics will need to be altered in the bowling department as well. Pakistan pacemen – barring Junaid Khan in the second-innings – struggled and Saeed Ajmal cannot be expected to carry on a lone struggle.
Sri Lanka wary of challenge
A player’s quality is also judged by how the opposition plans for him.
In Misbah’s case, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene was aware and said that his team will need to counter the influence of the returning Pakistan captain.
“Misbah is an experienced guy and a very calm character,” said Jayawardene. “They will have that influence on the field with his batting as well. That’s a fact that we have to counter.”
Sri Lanka are likely to make one change to their fast-bowling line up for the Test, which starts on Saturday, with either Dilhara Fernando or Thisara Perera replacing Nuwan Pradeep.
Mohsin hopes for comeback
Meanwhile, former coach Mohsin Khan has said that Pakistan possessed the talent and potential to make a strong comeback.
“This team has the ingredients of winning a series from here,” said the former opening batsman ahead of second Test.
“It just needs a good game plan and a strong strategy. Another important thing will be the right playing-eleven according to the state of pitch.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2012.
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