Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 9th 2014 Contents A59
November 9, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
ABU DHABI---Pakistan captain
Misbah-ul-Haq is warning his
players not to be "lazy" against
New Zealand in the first Test
Misbah wants Pakistan to show
the same determination which
earned a 2--0 series victory against
Australia on the slow wickets of
the United Arab Emirates.
"We just don t want to be reluc-
tant and lazy," Misbah said yes-
terday. "We really want to be
focused and go with the same sort
of intent ... just do our basics right
and to try and play like we did
Pakistan routed Michael Clarke s
team 2--0 for its first test series
victory over Australia in 20 years
with convincing victories at Dubai
and Abu Dhabi, after losing the
one-day series 3--0. Pakistan won
the second Test by a massive 356
Misbah led from the front with
centuries in each innings of the
second test that included test
cricket s fastest 50 before he
equalled Viv Richards world record
Experienced batsman Younis
Khan also scored prolifically with
three successive centuries while
Azhar Ali smashed hundreds in
each innings at Abu Dhabi.
Despite being seventh in the Test
rankings, New Zealand has won
three of its previous four test series.
It drew against Bangladesh last
year before twice beating the West
Indies. It also beat India 1--0 earlier
"New Zealand is a kind of team
which could really surprise you,"
Misbah said. "They ve got good
spinners and (fast) bowlers who
can bowl good reverse swing."
Pakistan is unlikely to make big
changes for the three-Test series.
"In Test cricket we just don t
want to experiment much, we just
want to keep the same kind of
unit," Misbah said.
In the absence of suspended off-
spinner Saeed Ajmal, inexperienced
spinners Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir
Shah got the lion s share of 26
wickets between them against
Australia on turning wickets.
Misbah was especially impressed
with newcomer legspinner Shah s
haul of 12 wickets.
"When a youngster like him
(Shah) just comes and performs
against a top side in the world,
that shows he has got really good
temperament," Misbah said.
New Zealand captain Brendon
McCullum is aware the Black Caps
haven t won a test series against
Pakistan since a 2--0 victory in
"We ll do our absolute best to
rectify that statistic," McCullum
said. "It may not pan out, we may
get beaten over here, but I m pretty
sure that we ll put up a very good
However, McCullum expects a
tough test on the slow wickets of
Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
"We are under no illusion how
hard this series is going to be, but
we also got some pretty big hopes
to achieve something special,"
McCullum said he hoped having
three left-handed batsmen in the
top six batting lineup---Tom Lath-
am, Corey Anderson and James
Neesham---could disturb Pakistan s
"We ve some left and right hand
combination which probably Aus-
tralia didn t have ... hopefully that s
one of the factors that can help us
combat their lineup," McCullum
The fit-again Kane Williamson
and Ross Taylor form the nucleus
of New Zealand s middle-order
with Tim Southee and Trent Boult
sharing the new ball.
New Zealand s India-born
legspinner Ish Sodhi, who took
five wickets in the drawn warm-
up match against Pakistan A, will
be challenging the strong Pakistan
batting lineup with offspinner
Mark Craig. (AP)
"Thrashed" and "embarrassed"
were the words Angelo Mathews used
to describe Sri Lanka s abject outing
in Motera. He is not a captain who is
accustomed to losing this year. Before
this tour, Sri Lanka had won 15 of their
20 matches in 2014. Of those, 12 (out
of 14) had been away victories. Sri
Lanka had hoped to earn small vic-
tories on this tour, even if an outright
series win seemed far from reach, but
so far, they have gleaned only broken
spirits and bruised egos.
Where to start with the visitors
problems? The bowling has seemed
almost entirely devoid of menace past
the first ten overs. The fielding has
been flatter than the pitches they have
played on. The batting has sometimes
seemed panicked and been lethargic.
A little rust was expected before the
series, but it s almost as if Sri Lanka
put their best cricket in cryogenic freeze
when they visit India. They have never
won an ODI bilateral series in the coun-
try, nor a Test.
Even with several second-string play-
ers, India have hardly broken a sweat.
Three batsmen have collected hundreds,
while bowlers like Ishant Sharma and
Akshar Patel have begun making a case
for World Cup inclusion. The batting,
as usual, is rock-solid in India, but the
bowlers have remained admirably effec-
tive as well.
Beyond the World Cup plans, Virat
Kohli has also given a glimpse of the
kind of captain he might become.
Proactive and instinctive, Kohli s gam-
bles have paid off so far, with the bat-
ting-order reshuffles yielding good div-
idends and bowling changes regularly
bringing wickets. Sri Lanka will have
to raise their game substantially to test
Kohli and his team.
In the spotlight
Akshar Patel may not be a big turner
of the ball, but he has not allowed the
pressure of international cricket affect
his accuracy yet, as he regularly delivers
guileful left-arm spin through the mid-
dle of the innings. In this series, the
scalps have also been significant ones.
He removed Mahela Jayawardene in
the first ODI and Tillakaratne Dilshan
in the second, just as those batsmen
seemed set to play long and important
Thisara Perera has had a strange year.
In January, the selectors denied him
permission to play in the Big Bash
League, and questioned his work ethic.
In April, he struck the winning runs in
Sri Lanka s World T20 triumph. In May,
he was dropped from the ODI team,
during the England series. A fit and
firing Thisara shapes as a major asset
for Sri Lanka s World Cup campaign,
but now, after two mediocre outings
with the ball, pressure has begun build-
ing on him again.
India played three spinners in Motera,
but may not opt for the same combi-
nation again if the track looks unlikely
to take less turn. Dhawal Kulkarni is a
chance to play, but legspinner Amit
Mishra sits in the dressing room await-
ing a game as well.
Sri Lanka may think seriously about
playing Nuwan Kulasekara in the XI,
though it is not immediately clear at
whose expense he might arrive. If the
Hyderabad track seems like it will offer
less to the spinners, Suraj Randiv may
sit out. (ESPNcricinfo)
This Twenty20 series has fluctuated
in a near miniature version of the Test
series between Australia and South
Africa earlier this year. The visitors
were commanding in game one, the
hosts domineering in game two. What
remains to be seen is whether the
script will be maintained, with the
tourists finding their feet in time to
deliver the knock out blow in the
decider. South Africa s captain JP
Duminy has termed the swings and
roundabouts an education---he will
hope his men have learned enough by
"In some ways I m happy that we
experienced this. It was all bells and
whistles after the first game, everyone
was on a high so it s good to experience
this, especially as a young side. We
need to come back stronger on Sunday
(today)," said Duminy.
Australia s victory at the MCG was
based on the classical combination of
energetic pace bowling and nifty wrist
spin twirled down by Cameron Boyce.
Their combination limited South Africa
to a tally they had no real hope of
defending, and so the securing of a
better start will be critical for Duminy s
team. The hosts also benefited from
the promotion of Ben Dunk to open in
place of Cameron White, allowing the
batsman-keeper to play in the role with
which he is most familiar.
Sydney s Olympic Stadium has
notably short straight boundaries,
favouring batsmen who can drive pow-
erfully and straight. The drop-in pitch
can often be a somewhat slow and
amenable to variations from seamers,
so there may be the odd slower ball
bouncer delivered today.
Parachuted back into the team for
the MCG, Glenn Maxwell finished up
with very little to do, and made a duck
during Australia s successful chase. He
will expect better on Sunday with the
benefit of another two nights sleep
after his return from the UAE, and
many will be hoping to see Maxwell s
Flying high in Adelaide, Duminy and
his team were brought to earth with a
considerable thud in Melbourne. As a
new captain, Duminy s ability to guide
the tourists through the highs and lows
of the past few days to a settled display
in Sydney will be watched closely.
Pakistan not to be
'lazy' against NZ
Will the real Sri Lanka
please stand up?
Fluctuations mean all
to play for in Sydney
Misbah Ul Haq may never have a better chance to become Pakistan's most successful Test captain than in the
three-Test series against New Zealand starting today. The 40-year-old Misbah, who has led Pakistan in 31
Tests, needs just one more victory to surpass the team-record of 14 Test victories shared by Imran Khan and
Javed Miandad. AP PHOTO
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