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Sri Lanka outplayed us, says Malik

cricket Updated: Jan 25, 2009 12:59 IST

IANS
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Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik blamed his bowlers for a shocking 234-run defeat against Sri Lanka in their one-day series finale in Lahore on Saturday.

Malik said that his bowlers gave away too many runs (309) and the batting just collapsed under pressure.

"Credit to Sri Lanka for the way they played. We bowled well early on but faltered later. 310 was always going to be difficult to chase and the Sri Lankans bowled very well to beat us," he said after the match.

Malik also pointed out that Pakistan was playing international cricket after a long gap. "We are playing international cricket at home after a while, and it is important we hit the right areas when bowling on good pitches," he said.

Pakistan's last international game on home soil was played during the Asia Cup in Lahore last July. Its last ODI match was played against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi last November. Pakistan won that three-match series 3-0.

Malik praised young fast bowler Sohail Khan, who replaced under-achieving Shoaib Akhtar in the Pakistan line-up. "Sohail Khan bowled well early on," he said. "But the key now is to learn from our mistakes."

Akhtar, 33, was dropped after his below-par showing in the previous two games of the series played in Karachi.

Malik was also apologetic in front of a sizeable Lahore crowd that watched with dismay as Pakistan crashed to its worst ODI defeat. "Apologies to the Lahore crowd for disappointing them but I must thank them for turning up in such huge numbers," he said.