'Know answer for Herath'
Pakistan's woes against left-arm spin are well documented now but captain Misbahul Haq believes his team may have finally found an answer to arch-nemesis Rangana Herath's mystery.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka begin a three-match battle starting with the first Test on Wednesday, the spin-friendly conditions at Galle giving Herath all the confidence he needs against his favourite side.
The two sides have already played six series in as many years, the last of which also took place on the island a year ago. The hosts won both Tests, leaving Pakistan without a win in Sri Lanka since 2006.
Misbah, who turned 41 last month, hopes to rectify that record and build on a commendable 2-0 win over Australia in the United Arab Emirates last year, followed by a 1-0 triumph in Bangladesh this May.
“We have an answer for Hearth this time as everybody is working hard on how to defend him,” Misbah said.
“In the past we really played him well except in the last series in Sri Lanka…sometimes bowler takes the edge, or sometimes batsman.
“But we are looking on a plan on how to handle him and how we should apply ourselves against him. We only struggled because he got a good hold of the conditions and it's important for us to play him well to get a better result. The more we play him well, more we have a chance to do better against them,” the Pakistan skipper said of the 37-year-old left-arm spinner.
Herath has picked up 88 wickets in only 17 matches against Pakistan, making him the third most successful bowler against the team. He needs only three more wickets to surpass Shane Warne, and only 12 more wickets to become the first bowler in the world to pick up 100 wickets in Tests against Pakistan.
Misbah said though the two teams were well aware of each other's strengths and weaknesses now, Pakistan would leave any baggage at the door.
“Our ultimate goal is to win and improve our performances and I have best players with me to achieve the target.”