x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Pakistan's Misbah targets improvement in field

Captain pleased with his team's bowling and batting, but would like his side to improve their fielding, as the first Test, in Abu Dhabi, ends in a draw.

ABU DHABI // Not for the first time, Pakistan's fielding cost them a win in the first Test against Sri Lanka that ended here on Saturday.

Seven chances were shelled through Sri Lanka's second innings as Kumar Sangakkara and Prasanna Jayawardene battled to save the Test. But Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, felt there were enough positives elsewhere to look ahead with some confidence.

"We dominated in bowling and batting," Misbah said. "We took 20 wickets, we lost seven wickets, so it's really positive for our team. The only thing was the fielding. We can go back and work hard on that. Nobody's down. The show everybody put up right till the end, everyone was focused, bowling their heart out."

Sri Lanka were indebted to Sangakkara, his eighth double hundred (he now stands behind only Don Bradman and Brian Lara on the all-time list) yet another match-saving hand. His 201-run partnership with Jayawardene, a seventh-wicket Test record between the two sides, helped Sri Lanka overcome a 314-run first innings deficit and left captain Tillakaratne Dilshan feeling understandably relieved.

"I'm really happy," he said. "We were well behind but I was really happy with the body language and the fielding and bowling effort on the second and third day. It was a flat wicket and we have a young attack, so it was a great job for us."

With the confidence of a man reprieved, he said they would go in to the second Test the happier side. "It's a huge advantage for us. We were behind and we survived. I thought Pakistan would try [for the target] but they did not go for a win."

osamiuddin@thenational.ae