“Everything was under control and I don’t know what happened after that.” Can’t blame Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq for being short of words after his team succumbed to a 44-run defeat to Sri Lanka in the fourth one-day international in Colombo on Saturday.
Pakistan were strongly placed at 166-2 in the 38th over before they collapsed to 199 all out, chasing a 244-run target in the day-night contest, with man-of-the-match Perera finishing with 4-42 including a hat-trick.
Pakistan lost their last eight wickets for 33 runs, with six batsmen failing to open their account in the innings.
Misbah didn’t extend any excuses. “Having played so many batsmen, each of them realise their responsibilities. We needed a run-a-ball and the batsmen should have taken more responsibility, but they didn’t,” Misbah said. “We took it for granted that we had the match in our hands.”
Misbah admitted that his players lost the game in the mind. “It was a simple equation. We should have achieved it easily, without taking risks,” Misbah said. “In my view the batsmen need to have a compact technique in conditions in Sri Lanka, where the ball swings and seams a bit. We need to be mentally strong.”
Opener Azhar Ali carried his bat through the innings with an unbeaten 81, hitting one six and four boundaries. He added 113 for the third wicket with skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (57).
Earlier, Kumar Sangakkara top-scored with a 130-ball 97 for Sri Lanka, who now lead 2-1 in the five-match series. Pakistan won the opening one-dayer by six wickets and Sri Lanka won the second game by 76 runs in Pallekele.
The third match in Colombo was abandoned due to rain on Wednesday.
Pakistan’s slide began with the dismissal of Misbah, with Nuwan Kulasekara taking a brilliant catch to his right at mid-off off paceman Lasith Malinga.
Misbah also defended demoting Younis to No 6, given his average of 44 in 28 innings in that position. “He was struggling at the top. My form too was poor so I promoted myself to No 4. Asad Shafiq is playing well. Even in Sri Lankan conditions, you need experience even at the bottom. He (Younis) has played at No 6 before, so we pushed him down.”
Perera had Younis Khan caught behind and then had Shahid Afridi caught in the covers before completing the hat-trick with the wicket of Sarfraz Ahmed, caught by skipper Mahela Jayawardene in the slips. “Thisara is improving and learning with each game,” said Jayawardene.