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Misbah-ul-Haq’s appointment as captain of the Pakistan cricket team has turned around fortunes of the side marred by controversies. Despite all the off-field distractions, he has been able to keep Pakistan on winning ways with series wins over Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. The impressive aspect of his leadership is that a potentially volatile group of men are playing as a team, complimenting each other and enjoying whatever success is coming their way. Sri Lanka too had similar expectations when Tillakaratne Dilshan was handed over the baton post 2011 World Cup. But, they seem to be slipping down the ladder as their results have been disappointing so far. In England, Sri Lanka lost both the Test and ODI series, worse followed as they lost to Australia even on home soil and the latest, Pakistan got better of them in the three Test series on neutral territory.
The surprising thing so far has been Sri Lanka’s inability to take control even with a team that boasts two top batsmen in the world, i.e. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Then there is Dilshan himself and with a couple of promising youngsters around, Sri Lanka should have performed better against Pakistan.
After the Tests, focus now shifts on to the one-dayers where again the Islanders would be hoping to do well. Return of experienced hands- Lasith Malinga and Dilhara Fernando is bound to provide depth and variety to their bowling attack that has been their biggest worry in the recent times. In the batting department, prolific opener Upul Tharanga and Dinesh Chandimal are the new faces. With a top all-rounder like Angelo Mathews in the side, the team has good balance but it remains to be seen if they can finally win a series in coloured clothing.
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