Pakistan desperate to regain lost pride

Updated: 17 July 2009 16:53 IST

Pak are gearing for one final fling at restoring their honour after being outclassed by rampant Sri Lanka in the first two Tests of the ongoing series.

Pakistan desperate to regain lost pride

Colombo:

Beleaguered Pakistan are gearing for one final fling at restoring their honour after being outclassed by rampant Sri Lanka in the first two Tests of the ongoing series.

Younus Khan's men were in disarry amid reports of dissension and infighting in the side, less than a month after they were crowned World Twenty20 champions in England by beating Sri Lanka in the final.

Three inexplicable Pakistani batting collapses in four innings has given Sri Lanka their first home series win over the South Asian rivals even before the final Test that begins on Monday.

Pakistan's performance so far in the series has only enhanced their reputation as one of the most unpredictable sides in modern cricket who can rise and fall in a span of a few days with equal ease.

The tourists dominated the initial three days of the first Test in Galle, only to falter on the fourth morning when needing 97 to win with eight wickets in hand, they managed to lose the match by 50 runs.

In the second Test at the P.Sara Oval in Colombo, Pakistan crashed to a shocking 90 in the first innings and then lost nine wickets for 35 runs in the second innings after being 285-1 at one stage.

Pakistan lost the first Test inside four days and the second in three and must lift their batting if they are to avoid a similar face in the third Test at the Sinhalese sports club here.

"The batting has let us down badly, but we can't afford another failure," Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam told AFP. "There is a lot of pride to play for in the third Test."

Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq, like other ex-stars Abdul Qadir and Sarfraz Nawaz, has blamed the defeats on groupism in the team and Younus' inability to keep the flock together.

"I can smell factionalism within the team and Younus is not doing his best to keep the team united," Inzamam said earlier this week. "It does not augur well for our cricket."

The former players have been especially criticial of Shoaib Malik, Younus' predecessor as captain, and other senior players like Misbah-ul Haq and Kamran Akmal for failing to make a mark.

Malik has managed just 83 runs in the series so far, Misbah only 66 and Akmal a disappointing 29, leaving a gaping hole in the middle order.

Younus said earlier this week he could not be blamed entirely for the team's losses or the failure of the senior players in the side.

"I can't bat for them," the captain said. "They have to learn from their mistakes. If a youngster like Fawad (Alam) can bat like a champion, there is no reason why the others can't."

Alam, a 23-year-from Karachi, made a stunning debut in the second Test when he hammered 168 during a second-wicket stand of 200 with Younus (82) before the rest of the batting caved in.

Younus, however, expected Pakistan to lift themselves in the final Test, saying it was better to lose the series 1-2 than 0-3.

"We have to win this game," he said. "There is a one-day series after this, and if we finish the Test well it will boost our confidence for those matches."

Pakistan are due to play five one-day international against Sri Lanka after the Tests.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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