Re­ac­tion as Pak­istan lose their first ‘home’ se­ries in the UAE

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS - By Adam Ellis

SO hu­mil­i­at­ing was the se­ries de­feat by Pak­istan for the first time in the UAE that Pak­istan Cricket Board chair­man Na­jam Sethi urged pa­tience among sup­port­ers back home.

A first ‘home se­ries’ de­feat for Pak­istan in the UAE since their forced ex­ile in 2009 was dealt by the most un­likely hand in Sri Lanka.

White­washed by In­dia, de­graded by Zim­babwe, and an over­haul to their com­mit­tee of se­lec­tors at the end of Au­gust meant a Sri Lanka team in dis­ar­ray were un­fan­cied across both Tests at the out­set.

But a 68-run win wrapped up in Dubai sealed eu­pho­ria for the Sri Lankans and sent the head of Pak­istan cricket on the de­fen­sive: “The boys won CT [Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy] for you,” Sethi tweeted.

“[It’s] Hard to fill the vac­uum of Afridi, Mis­bah and Younas overnight. Give them time to gel into Test form. Have faith!”

No con­grat­u­la­tions to Sri Lanka from Sethi, but coach Mickey Arthur said his side had not taken their op­po­nents likely in pre­par­ing for the se­ries.

“No, ab­so­lutely no truth at all,” Arthur told Wis­den In­dia who queried if his side had be­come com­pla­cent.

“We were a de­vel­op­ing Test team and right from the start of the cam­paign, we spoke very highly of the Sri Lankans.”

“We knew that they were go­ing to be bat­tle-hard­ened af­ter their se­ries with In­dia. We hadn’t played any com­pet­i­tive cricket since the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy and that was a to­tally dif­fer­ent squad.

“Our Test team hadn’t played any cricket since the West Indies tour.We knew we had to be at our best to beat them. They showed they were more bat­tle-hard­ened and dis­ci­plined than us over a pe­riod of five days.”

Pak­istan had bat­tled back to bowl Sri Lanka out for 96 in their sec­ond in­nings only for their top four bats­men to score a com­bined 49 runs, as Dil­ruwan Per­era claimed 5-98. This af­ter the tourists Dimuth Karunaratne hit a mar­vel­lous 196 in the first in­nings.

Al­lud­ing to his own mis­giv­ings in se­lect­ing the bat­ting or­der, Arthur said the fol­low­ing when com­ment­ing on the state of Pak­istan’s Test team.

“Clearly, our Test team has come back to a po­si­tion where it’s very much a fledg­ling side and not a sta­ble side, not a set­tled side. Hope­fully a year on from here, our Test team would have grown and we have the com­po­si­tion of the team right.

Lean­ing re­li­ably to­wards what ex­pe­ri­ence they do pos­sess, Pak­istan can be buoyed by the cen­tury from 31-year-old Asad Shafiq who put on a part­ner­ship worth 173 with skip­per Sar­fraz Ahmed.

A small so­lace to take af­ter Sri Lanka were left to cel­e­brate win­ning only their sec­ond tour se­ries since 2000.

PIC­TURE: Getty Im­ages

Five of the best: Dil­ruwan Per­era took five wick­ets to skit­tle Pak­istan

Cen­tury: Dimuth Karunaratne

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