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Pakistan had very little moments to celebrate on the fifth and final day of the second Test at the P Sara Oval like this one where Azhar Ali at short leg has caught Kumar Sangakkara (not in picture) for a first ball duck. The bowler is Yasir Shah. AFP picture by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Pakistan’s losing captain Misbah-ul-Haq admitted that his side could not handle pressure after being bowled out for 138 on the first day of the second Test which they lost to Sri Lanka by seven wickets at the P Sara Oval on Monday.

Although Pakistan staged a recovery in their second innings by totalling 329, they had only a target of 153 to defend which proved inadequate against the Lankan batting line up.

“The first day lunch and tea session was a big blow for us. We couldn’t handle the pressure after getting 70-2 and then 138 all out,” said Misbah at the post-match press conference.

“That really was something that could not allow us to be back in the game. That was the thing that kept us under pressure throughout the Test.”

Misbah said trying to defend the total without their key fast bowler Wahab Riaz was a setback to their plans.

“It was difficult obviously and Sri Lanka was helped by the situation as well. They knew the weather conditions and they got only one chance to go out and finish the game before lunch,” said Misbah.

“That actually took a bit of pressure off them and they batted freely. Otherwise had they had a full game ahead of them and you had to score 150 it could have been different.

“And then being a defending team you’ve also got a chance to defend. But they came out in an attacking approach and that made it look easy for them.”

Misbah said that Wahab’s absence also made a big difference.

“The pitch definitely had more pace and bounce than Galle and he was our main bowler. Without him it was definitely hard to execute the plan.”

Misbah stated that even in the second innings they were in a position to get to a lead of something around 230 to 250 but again in the session between lunch and tea they had lost their way.

Misbah said that they would definitely go into the next Test determined to do well.

“We take an example from Sri Lanka the way they bounced back. In batting our batsman are not scoring the big runs and it’s due on them. We are obviously going to sit and discuss our mistakes and come up with a positive state of mind to try to win the next Test,” Misbah said.