Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq is confident that his batsmen will be able to overcome the threat posed by Sri Lanka left-arm spinner Rangana Herath in the two-Test series starting on Wednesday.
Herath has often proved to be a thorn in Pakistan’s side, having taken 65 of his 237 test wickets against them in 15 matches, more than against any other country.
“He’s one of the leading wicket-takers of Sri Lanka at the moment, but the confidence level of all our batsmen is very good against him,” Misbah told reporters.
“Ours is more or less the same batting order and the same guys who played in the last series; everybody is confident about playing him.”
In the last series played in the UAE that ended in a 1-1 draw, Herath took 14 wickets at an average of 36.64. Pakistan have not won a Test series in Sri Lanka since 2006.
“We tried our best to get ready for this series, we had a good camp in Karachi before we came here,” said Misbah.
Pakistan have not played Tests since the last series against Sri Lanka in January.
“We worked hard on our fitness; before Ramazan we had a tough fitness camp and everybody is in good shape,” he added. “All the players are fit that is what Waqar [Younis] as coach wants from us.
Misbah said his team were experienced in Sri Lankan conditions having played a lot of cricket there.
“You could say these conditions are not much different from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but in Galle, there is a little bit of seam movement and movement in the air that’s something the seamers are really interested in,” said Misbah.
“Both teams fancy these sorts of conditions but everyone knows that in their own conditions, Sri Lanka are a really good team, so you need to play hard, disciplined cricket to come good against them.”
Misbah said one of the key Sri Lankan players they will be targeting is batsman Mahela Jayawardene for whom this will be his final series before he quits Test cricket.
Former cricketer warns against complacency
Former Test cricketer and selector Shoaib Mohammad has warned Pakistan not to get carried away with their record Sharjah win, where they successfully chased 302 runs at a run-rate of 5.25 on the last day of their last Test against Sri Lanka.
Pakistan captain confident of subduing Sri Lanka spinner as first Test gets under way
The former opening batsman stressed that the achievement was history and Pakistan need to concentrate on the present.
“Pakistan must get the Sharjah win out of their minds and go out with a fresh approach,” Shoaib told The Express Tribune.
“It’ll be altogether a different challenge because afterwards Pakistan lost in the Asia Cup and the World Twenty20. Moreover, the team hasn’t played a Test after January.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2014.
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