GALLE: Victory in the one-day series and the enforced absence of the Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq have boosted Sri Lanka’s confidence that they can end a poor run in the first test starting on Friday.
The home side won the ODI series 3-1, with one match rained off, and Misbah was hit with a one-match ban for his side’s slow over rate in the final match.
“We have some experienced players coming into the tests. It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to play some good cricket and get one back at Pakistan if possible,” said Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene before the three-test series.
“When you play a quality team like Pakistan, and what we’ve been through playing them in the recent past and what they have achieved in the last six months, it (the series win) makes a huge difference.
“The test series is always going to be big challenge. The guys in the squad have been working really hard in the last six weeks with the coaching staff and they are looking forward to it.”
Sri Lanka have won only two of their last 14 tests and lost six.
“Winning is a good habit to have so hopefully we can continue this momentum. It’s a different format altogether, test cricket. It’s important that we start fresh and start well,” Jayawardene said.
When the two teams last met in the UAE, Pakistan made a clean sweep of the tests, one-day and Twenty20 series. However, on the current tour, Sri Lanka drew the T20 series 1-1.
Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan’s T20 captain, will lead the Pakistan side but Misbah’s contributions with the bat will be sorely missed by Pakistan whose batting was a major concern during the ODI series.
Pakistan are in the middle of a dream run in Tests under Misbah’s leadership. They are unbeaten in seven test series since the spot-fixing incident in England in 2010.
“We have done well in test matches in the last two years. We need to recall those performances and start afresh,” said Misbah.
Misbah gets Test ban for slow over-rate
Colombo, June 20
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has been banned from the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle that starts on Friday as punishment for his team’s slow over-rate in the final match of the one-day series.
The visitors were three overs short of the required rate during Monday’s match in Colombo, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a news release on Tuesday. The ICC added that this was a ““serious over-rate offence” in limited-over cricket.
A Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman said that Misbah would be replaced as skipper on Friday by vice-captain Mohammed Hafeez. Hafeez has captained Pakistan