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“This is what you are going to associate with the Sri Lanka team, that they really are fighters and can come back strongly”
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has announced that the national team “need to build very good partnerships” against Sri Lanka if they are going to have any chance of beating them in the upcoming ODI series, which starts later today.
Pakistan have been hot and cold in some their recent ODI series and ul-Haq has called on his team to show some consistency in the upcoming five-match series.
“Especially in batting we need to build very good partnerships,” ul-Haq said. “Top order batsmen need to carry on once they get starts. That’s what we proved in South Africa. Shehzad was getting runs here and he got a hundred in South Africa that really helped Pakistan. That’s what we were missing in the UAE [against South Africa].”
Ul-Haq noted that the team’s recent 2-1 win over South Africa is still a major confidence booster, but added that they cannot underestimate Sri Lanka as they have a knack for biting back when cornered.
“It matters how you perform on the day,” he said. “I think Sri Lanka really came back in the second Twenty20 after losing the first game. They looked an improved side.
“This is what you are going to associate with the Sri Lanka team, that they really are fighters and can come back strongly. We need to repeat the good performances. We need to really show some good skills to beat them.”
Ul-Haq also confirmed that Pakistan will continue to experiment with the group of youngsters that have recently come into the side.
“Giving players chances is how we got Bilawal Bhatti and Anwar Ali, who performed really well in South Africa,” he said. “I think Sharjeel Khan is another example. This is the way to get good players in the line-up. You can really enhance your pool of players and we should continue wherever you need someone, to replace from the domestic circuit. Give him exposure and check him at this level.”
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews stated that the batsmen have to adopt an aggressive mindset and approach towards Pakistan’s bowling attack in order to keep them on the back foot.
“We know Pakistan are a very dangerous team when it comes to the shorter formats,” Mathews said. “They have one of the best bowling line-ups in the world, a good mix of spin and fast bowlers. Our batters need to be on guard to try and counterattack and be positive. We had an exciting Twenty20 series and we look forward to the one-day series as well.”
Mathews also took the opportunity to laud Seekkuge Prasanna for his outstanding knock of 21 runs off only eight balls in his Twenty20 debut.
“Prasanna is a guy who can hit the ball out of the park any time,” Mathews said. “And he is a very gutsy player. He is a very good all-rounder for us and we hope to see him doing well.”