Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Galle
GALLE: Pakistan’s winning captain Misbah-ul-Haq said conquering the left-arm spin of Rangana Herath successfully was the key to his team’s ten-wicket win in the first Test at Galle International Stadium.
“Herath took only one wicket and we scored heavily against him. The good thing is that everybody was using his feet playing him confidently and kept his wicket column empty,” said Misbah at the post-match press conference.
“That’s really a good sign for us as he being a very good bowler could have done a lot more than that. We have been working to tackle him for the last three to four months and it eventually worked.
“We need to keep on doing this in the coming Test matches because he is a tough competitor capable of doing anything. We really got to concentrate what we have planned against him.”
Herath was the key to Sri Lanka’s 2-0 win over Pakistan last year taking 23 wickets in the series and has a good record against them.
Misbah described his team’s victory as “a great feeling” and added, “In Galle specially after losing the previous three Tests here it is great to win. You could say that we were also in the position (to win the previous one) and came almost close but couldn’t so now it’s good to win this after all.
“Actually we were positive right from the start to win this. But when one and half days was wasted without a play we got the only opportunity to win by winning the toss and bowling first and get them out as early as we can.
“The thought behind every move was eventually to win this match and not just play it to save. They scored well in the first innings but still once we managed to go beyond the 400 runs and take the ample lead we never looked back.
“The way Sarfraz (Ahmed) and Asad (Shafiq) played (after 96-5) we were still hoping that there are capable batsmen and our idea was to come close to their score to put back the pressure on them.
“We knew once the pressure is on Sri Lanka we can push them to save the Test match because they didn’t have much time to win, the only option left was to save the Test. When this kind of situation arises pressure can do wonders for a team which is not in danger and it helped us.”
Misbah praised the bowling of Yasir Shah who was the chief destroyer of the Sri Lanka second inning with career best figures of 7 for 76.
“He is giving us good advantage especially on these kinds of pitches where other spinners are not getting any sort of spin,” said Misbah. “He was the difference in the kind of turn and bounce he was getting that really gave us a lot. Seven wickets against an opponent who is good against spin is something that speaks a lot. He is doing well and improving on every game he is playing.
When asked how he could compare with past Pakistan leg-spinners Misbah said, ““To become one of the great he still has to improve a lot. He might be performing well in Asian conditions but there are a lot more Tests ahead of him when he will be abroad away from the subcontinent like in England and Australia. At the moment he is bowling tremendously.”