Pakistan rues team's 'fall in Galle'
Pakistan's former cricket greats and fans were despondent Wednesday after their team followed last month's World Twenty20 triumph with a collapse in their first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.cricket Updated: Jul 08, 2009 17:25 IST
Pakistan's former cricket greats and fans were despondent Wednesday after their team followed last month's World Twenty20 triumph with a collapse in their first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
"It was the fall in Galle," former Test batsman Ijaz Ahmed said.
"Pakistan spurned an ideal opportunity to double the joy of World Twenty20 win and it is now Pakistan who will be under pressure rather than being 1-0 up in the series," he added.
Pakistan, who beat Sri Lanka in the final to win the World Twenty20 title in England, Tuesday went down by 50 runs in the first Test at Galle, handing the hosts a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Set a modest 168-run target, Pakistan were comfortably placed at 71-2 at the start of the fourth day.
However, in a dramatic batting collapse, Pakistan lost their next eight wickets for a mere 46 runs, with left-arm spinner Rangana Herath taking four wickets for 15 runs in the innings to help his team to a hard-fought victory.
Ahmed said Pakistan's team had relaxed at what it thought was the prospect of an easy win.
"It is our psyche that we get relaxed on small targets, prospects of easy wins, and that's what happened with the team," said Ahmed, who played 60 Tests and 250 one-day matches.
"They must have been thinking of going for an outing after completing the match with a day to spare... That's why there is an old saying: 'Never relax until the last ball is bowled.'"
Former fast bowler Jalaluddin Ahmed said that Pakistan had failed under pressure.
"It has been a weakness of the players that their skill level drops when they come under pressure. In the whole Test, Pakistan came under pressure only on the fourth day," he said.
"It was disappointing to lose when the target was small and there were two days left in the match," said Jalal, who in 1982 became the first bowler to record a hat-trick in one-day cricket.
Former paceman Sarfraz Nawaz criticised the team selection.
"Umar Gul was not fit and gave away so many runs," said Nawaz of the paceman.
"Fawad Alam should have been played because he was in good form and scored runs in the side match before the Test. No one expected such a batting collapse, it was disappointing."
Fans, who marked the team's World Twenty20 win by holding spontaneous street celebrations on the night of June 21, were also disappointed.
"I was shocked to see the score when I put the television on," said Haris Ghazi, a commerce student.
"Then I came to terms with the fact that when our team plays like this, they can win from nowhere -- and lose from a winning position."
Ahmed said Pakistan will be hard-pressed to win the second Test, which starts in Colombo on Sunday.
"With 1-0 behind Pakistan will find it tough to level the series, more so because Sri Lanka's ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will be back," said Ahmed of the off-spinner, who missed the first Test because of a minor knee injury.