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Misbah hopes Pak players quickly reach test speed

July 25, 2014

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq hopes his players will quickly find their test match groove when they play the first match of a two-game series against Sri Lanka at Galle on Aug. 6.

Pakistan hasn’t played a test since January when it drew the series 1-1 with Sri Lanka at Sharjah, where it sensationally chased down 302 runs in 57.3 overs on the last evening.

In the meantime, Sri Lanka has won a first test series in England, and was trying to save the home series against South Africa.

Since Pakistan’s last test, the coaching staff has been overhauled, with Waqar Younis back as head coach, and Zimbabwe’s Grant Flower taking over as batting coach.

The new coaches have been leading training for nine days at Lahore, where the players have been trying to reproduce match scenarios. That follows a month-long fitness training camp in May, when central contracts were handed out.

“There is some rustiness (in the players) and that’s the reason we are playing some practice matches,” Misbah said.

“We are trying to get maximum batting practice, and have been trying to tune ourselves for the last three days and simulate match scenarios.

“We are professionals, and we have to deal with whatever is coming our way ... and will be ready by the time the series starts.”

Pakistan has not won a test series since 2012 when England was beaten 3-0 in the United Arab Emirates.

Sri Lanka scheduled the first test at Galle, where it lost to South Africa by 153 runs last week, but Misbah refused to read too much into the result. Sri Lanka was undone by South Africa’s fast bowlers.

“Sri Lanka mostly plays its first tests at Galle, it’s their hunting ground,” he said. “But the conditions suit us, it’s a good opportunity for us, and there is a chance of a result there.

“They lost there against South Africa, so they will be under pressure, too, and there is a possibility of them bouncing back hard.”

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