Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Pallekele
PALLEKELE: Pakistan’s victorious captain Misbah-ul-Haq described his team’s series clinching seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the third and final Test at Pallekele International Stadium as “an amazing turnaround” for his team.
Pakistan chased down their highest fourth innings total in a Test match reaching 382-3 with Younis Khan and Shah Masood contributing centuries apiece and Misbah sealing the match with a six to bring up his first half-century of the series.
“This victory is a great achievement. I was with the Pakistan team in the last three series and we lost but now winning the series here after a long time is like a dream come true especially after chasing a big total,” said Misbah at the post-match press conference.
“There were a lot of discussions made after the third day before coming out for the fourth day, pondering a lot of aspects before thinking of how to make this happen.
“By knowing the conditions, nature of the pitch and the history we were quite sure that we can pull this off. This pitch doesn’t offer much for the spinners and it could die for the seamers as the days go on so it remained bat able all the way through.”
Misbah said that playing in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and recalling the experience of playing on the fourth and fifth days gave Pakistan the confidence that they could do it.
“The only way we could have lost from there was by panicking but we managed to keep ourselves calm and played it like a first innings.
“We came here with a positive mind set to win this Test and we made our mind that any target less than 400 is quite achievable. We all have done it in the past scored ample of runs against South Africa in UAE and we proved it right that we can do it again.”
Misbah said that Sri Lanka tried everything to upset the Pakistanis and credit should be given to Shan Masood and Younis Khan for the way they played.
“You could say they have played their best innings of their life under pressure,” said Misbah.
“When you are chasing such a big target for the cause of Test match you really crumble under pressure and tend to make mistakes but the way they both negotiated the pressure and every attack made by the Sri Lankan bowlers, it was amazing.”
The Pakistan skipper commended the role played by veteran cricketer Younis Khan who scored an unbeaten 171 to take the Man of the Match award.
“A player like Younis in the team is a blessing. He is the sort of player who on a given day assures you the unlikely win even on the fifth day. His achievements are in front of us and are quite vocal to explain what he is and what can he do.”
Misbah said the key to Pakistan winning the series was the way his batsmen were able to negate the left-arm spin of Rangana Herath who has been their nemesis in past series.
“We played well in the first Test and negotiated well against Herath and the off-spinner (Kaushal) here in Pallekele – that was the main key. It’s always good to keep the opponent’s best man out of competition. That always gives you a big and moral victory.”