SHARJAH - Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq urged his bowlers to improve their death bowling in the third one-day against Sri Lanka in Sharjah on Sunday. Pakistan failed to defend a big 285-run target as Sri Lanka's batsmen benefited from sloppy end overs bowling to win the second one-day by two wickets in Dubai on Friday, levelling the five-match series 1-1.
Even in Pakistan's narrow 11-run win in the first game in Sharjah on Wednesday, Sri Lankan tail-enders cashed in on some poor end overs bowling and nearly chased down a daunting 323-run target. Misbah said Pakistan were missing the experience of M Irfan and Umar Gul -- both out of the tour due to injuries.
"Death bowling is an issue for us, we need to address that if we want to win the series," said Misbah after Friday's game. "Our fast bowling is not experienced and we are missing the experience of Irfan who had been doing well and also missing Gul." Sri Lanka needed a tough 85 in the last 10 overs when paceman Sohail Tanvir conceded 19 in one over, while Angelo Mathews (47) and Nuwan Kulasekara (32) upped the tempo in the last overs.
Sri Lanka needed 16 off the last two overs and four off the final when Sachithra Senanayake hit a boundary to seal the win. Misbah said he was happy with the batting, led by opener Ahmed Shehzad's career best 124. "I think our biggest problem used to be batting but I am really happy the way the batting is going on," said Misbah. Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews praised a good team effort. "We had to work very hard for this win," said Mathews. "Everyone contributed in bits and pieces." Mathews said the series would be close and tough for both the teams. "We hope to win the series but it will be an exciting one... With Pakistan you have to fight all the time and need to be positive -- we can't give them a chance as they can knock us down so we have to be on our guards and be positive and that's what we did," said Mathews. The last two matches will be played in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday and Friday.