Misbah puts down Pakistan's shock T20I series defeat to Sri Lanka on Babar Azam's double-failure

Waseem Ahmed 7/10/2019
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Sri Lanka clinched a series win with consecutive victories at Lahore.

Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has put down the embarrassing T20I series defeat at home at the hands of Sri Lanka to Babar Azam’s failure to fire with the bat.

Pakistan were bowled out for the second match in a row on Monday, in the second T20I at Lahore, with Sri Lanka’s second-string squad notching up a 35-run win to clinch the three-match series.

It was the third series defeat in a row for the No1 ranked Pakistan and the first under the tenure of Misbah who is performing the dual role of head coach as well as chief selector of the men’s side.

Babar, who has been Pakistan’s star batsman for some time now, was dismissed cheaply for the second game in a row by Sri Lanka seamer Nuwan Pradeep with the right-hander aggregating just 16 runs from his two innings in the series.

“We became number one in the T20I rankings but if you dig deeper, what has been our strength mostly – it’s been due to Babar Azam’s runs. He didn’t score in two games and we’ve been exposed,” the Pakistan head coach stated after the loss the Gaddafi stadium.

Misbah’s own selections for the T20I series have come under the scanner with the recalled Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad failing to justify their inclusion in the playing XI with twin failures in both losses.

While Shehzad was marginally able to improve on his four-run outing in the first T20, Akmal bagged his second golden duck in a row to create an infamous record for himself. The younger Akmal sibling has now been dismissed for zero in the format on a record 10 occasions. Their failure, coupled with Babar’s, meant that Pakistan were always facing an uphill task in the run-chase of 183 runs.

Akmal, Shehzad and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed were dismissed inside the space of four deliveries by Sir Lanka leggie Wanindu Hasaranga with all three batsmen failing to pick his wrong one.

In the end, a lower-order fightback from all-rounder Imad Wasim (47) was not enough with the Men in Green bundled out for 147 runs inside 19 overs at Lahore.

Misbah put the T20I series defeat to a No8 ranked Sri Lanka down to the team’s ability to perform in all three departments of the game.

“This is a good eye-opener for us. We have deficiencies in every department, in bowling, batting, especially the way we got out in both matches. We have deficiencies against playing spin, death bowling and we have to work a lot on these things,” Misbah stated.

Having handed the Lankans an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, Misbah and Pakistan will hope to give the home fans something to cheer about when the two sides lock horns in the final T20 at Lahore on Wednesday.

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Pakistan's comeback men flop once again as Sri Lanka blaze their way to T20I series win

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No joy once again for Ahmed Shehzad who fell to a wild slog.

A lower-order fightback from Pakistan was not enough as an inexperienced Sri Lanka side made a mockery of the home team’s No1 ranking to clinch the T20I series at Lahore in style.

Having crushed the hosts by 64 runs in the first T20, Sri Lanka were in irresistible form once again as they romped their way to a 35-run win in the second of the three-match series at the Gaddafi stadium.

The visitors opted to bat first and they racked up a daunting total of 182-6 before bundling out Pakistan for just 147 inside 19 overs.

Here, we look at the key talking points.

Sri Lanka’s aggressive intent takes Pakistan by surprise once again

Bhanuka Rajapaksa played a stellar knock in Sri Lanka's win.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa played a stellar knock in Sri Lanka’s win.

Sri Lanka’s young guns had stunned Pakistan with their aggressive intent in the first T20I. And they were further emboldened in their endeavors on Monday as the visitors took the game to the Men in Green.

Despite losing in-form opener Danushka Gunathilaka early into their innings, the islanders would not take the foot off the gas with each batsman looking to score runs at every opportunity.

Playing in only his second T20I, Bhanuka Rajapaksa smashed a superb 48-ball 77 with the left-hander showing no fear at all at the crease.

Rajapaksa brought back memories of a certain Sanath Jayasuriya in a knock containing six huge sixes and four boundaries.

The 27-year-old got able support from Jayasuriya at the other end, who scored a fast 34 to help advance Sri Lanka’s cause in the middle overs.

While they did lose their way a bit after the 15th over, skipper Dasun Shanaka’s explosive 27-run cameo at the death meant that their early blitz did not go to waste.

Akmal, Shehzad flop again as Pakistan’s batting flounders

Second golden duck in a row for Umar Akmal.

Second golden duck in a row for Umar Akmal.

Having been set a daunting target of 182 to level the series, Pakistan were put on the back-foot early into their innings with star batsman Babar Azam falling cheaply to Nuwan Pradeep for the second match in a row.

As such, the pressure on Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad increased after their failure to fire on their Pakistan comebacks in the first T20I. Unfortunately for Pakistan and coach Misbah, the two players turned into duds once again with Sri Lanka leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga dismissing them off successive deliveries.

Both the batsmen failed to read the Sri Lankan’s googly with Akmal falling for a golden duck for the second innings in a row.

Pakistan’s misery was complete when Hasaranga sent skipper Sarfraz back to the pavilion in the same over to bring up three dismissals in the space of four deliveries.

There was no coming back for the hosts from that point onwards with the top-order’s second successive failure costing them once again at Lahore.

T20I Kings losing their spark

Much to mull about for head coach Misbah after another shambolic loss.

Much to mull about for head coach Misbah after another shambolic loss.

Pakistan’s rise to the top of the T20I standings had been an impressive one with the Men in Green registering 11 series win on the bounce since the turn of 2016.

However, it has all gone sour lately for Sarfraz and his men with Saturday’s loss relegating them to their third successive series defeat after recent reversals against South Africa and England.

It was not the start that Misbah-ul-Haq would have wanted to his tenure as Pakistan coach with his squad selections inviting plenty of criticism before the series had even begun.

His gamble to bring back the mercurial Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad failed to pay off with a second-string Sri Lanka side making the hosts look ordinary in front of their own fans.

Trying to fix something that was not broken in the first place backfired for the hosts with a No8 ranked Sri Lanka outfit, missing 10 key players, showing them how it is done.

With the T20 World Cup in Australia just over a year away, Pakistan will need to rediscover their spark soon and for that, they might need to revert to the basics which worked perfectly for them during Arthur’s tenure.

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Why England's new head coach Chris Silverwood is the right man for the job

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Chris Silverwood (l) has been given the coveted England job.

It is no small detail that Chris Silverwood was declared “the standout candidate” in a field where one of his rivals to become England head coach had presided over India’s 2011 World Cup win.

Not only had Gary Kirsten deftly handled the suffocating pressure of more than a billion people by giving them the trophy they coveted most, the following year he masterminded South Africa’s rise to the top of the Test rankings.

While Kirsten may or may not have had some apprehension about England’s unrelenting schedule, many assumed it was a foregone conclusion he would be handed the keys to the kingdom when he emerged as a contender to replace Trevor Bayliss.

However, he and a number of other high-profile nominees were pipped to the post by a determined Yorkshireman, who becomes just the second Englishman to take sole charge of the national side since 1999.

Upon the announcement he would be promoted after two years as the side’s fast bowling coach, another description of Silverwood from England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Ashley Giles was instructive.

“Ultimately, his highest quality is that he is a winner and that will be an important part of the job as we look to strive to become the most respected team in the world across all formats,” Giles said.

“Chris was the standout candidate. I believe he is what we need to take our international teams forward.”

Try finding anyone at Essex who would disagree with those sentiments. Silverwood spent only two seasons in full-time charge at Chelmsford and yet the progress on his watch was remarkable.

Having edged out former Australia and South Africa coach Micky Arthur among others to the job, Silverwood got Essex promoted in his first season before ushering them to a first County Championship title in 25 years in 2017.

England soon came calling, and it is clear he made a favourable impression as part of Bayliss’ backroom staff, with Giles praising “the ultimate respect” he has from the players that have worked with him.

Born in Pontefract on March 5, 1975, Silverwood came to prominence as a fast-medium pace bowler as he embarked upon a professional career with Yorkshire, making his debut for the club as a teenager in 1993.

England recognition followed on the tour of Zimbabwe in 1996/97 but it would be another three years before he got another look in, ultimately settling with six Test and seven one-day international appearances.

Bob Cottam, one of his predecessors as England bowling coach, once remarked Silverwood was faster than fearsome South African paceman Allan Donald while he possessed an accurate bouncer and was able to extract plenty of seam movement at Headingley.

He moved on to Middlesex in 2006 but after an encouraging first season, a loss of form and injuries led to his release three years later.

Silverwood ended his playing career in Zimbabwe with Mashonaland Eagles before dipping his toes into coaching with Essex as their bowling coach in 2010, putting him on the path towards England’s top job nearly a decade later.

He became assistant to Paul Grayson in January 2014 while he lifted them from sixth to third the following year after being placed in temporary charge, which persuaded Essex to appoint him as head coach on a full-time basis.

Having underpinned their title win with a largely homegrown side, the structures he put in place have seen continued success, with Essex completing a championship and Vitality Blast double this year.

It is hoped he has the same Midas touch with England.

 Provided by Press Association Sports

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