KARACHI: Pakistan will do whatever it takes to win the two-Test series in Sri Lanka even if it means spoiling senior batsman Mahela Jayawardene’s farewell party, captain Misbahul Haq said at a press conference before the team’s departure to Colombo, Sri Lanka on Saturday. Former Sri Lanka captain Jayawardene, who has scored 11,671 runs in 147 Tests averaging over 50, announced last month he would retire from Test cricket after the home series against Pakistan starting at Galle on Wednesday.
“If we are to win the series in Sri Lanka, we have to ensure that their top batsman, particularly Jayawardene, is not allowed to get many runs,” Misbah added. “I have a lot of respect for what he has achieved but we are going to Sri Lanka to win the two-Test series and we know how important it is for us to not allow their senior players to score.”
Jayawardene, 37, has also scored 11681 runs in 420 one-dayers and with stalwart Kumar Sangakkara is the mainstay of the Sri Lankan batting. Misbah predicted a tough series against the Sri Lankans who have a strong home record. “It is going to be a tough series because Sri Lanka have been playing lot of Test and other cricket. But we have prepared hard and I have confidence in our bowlers,” said Misbah. “Our spinners have traditionally done well in Sri Lanka but we are banking on our pace bowlers as well.”
Misbah, who turned 40 in May and has a modest strike rate in one-dayers, was coy about his chances of leading Pakistan in next year’s 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. “I just focus on the match at the moment because that is important. No one knows what will happen after one day so why think about the World Cup. “I take it one match at a time and carry on from there, and I am under no pressure because of the captaincy debate,” he added.
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