Misbah in confident mood
Pakistan take on Sri Lanka over three Tests in UAE
Last Updated: 17/10/11 4:24pm
Misbah-ul-Haq: Pakistan have enjoyed Test revival under his leadership
Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq is backing his team to extend their recent unbeaten run when they face Sri Lanka in a three-Test series in Abu Dhabi, which gets under way on Tuesday.
While distracting headlines continue to be made at the spot-fixing trial in London involving former captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif, Pakistan's on-field improvements have largely gone unnoticed, but a new side is evolving nicely.
After the controversial series in England, Pakistan have drawn against South Africa, won in New Zealand, drawn in the West Indies and, most recently, seen off Zimbabwe.
Although they still have to play their designated home series in the United Arab Emirates due to security concerns in their own country, Misbah is confident of further success against a Sri Lanka side in transition.
"As far as the team is concerned, morale is very good because we've played good Test cricket for the last year. Everyone knows his role and we are just playing consistently," Misbah told reporters at a press conference.
"There are not many changes in the team, everyone knows his role and more important, everyone is performing in this team.
"As far as the team is concerned, morale is very good because we've played good Test cricket for the last year. Everyone knows his role and we are just playing consistently."
Misbah-ul-Haq Quotes of the week
"That is the key because it is about teamwork not just some players. That has been helping us over the last year."
Even though the stifling heat can be an issue in the Middle East, Misbah is happy to be back in Abu Dhabi.
He added: "We want to play Tests at home. We're missing cricket there in Pakistan, but we can't do anything about that.
"The available option is here and this feels like home to us. We know the conditions well, everybody plays well here and that's a good thing for us and we'd like to continue that.
"The heat is difficult but one thing that helps is that in Pakistan the weather is like this."
Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan is hoping a new, quicker attack will bond in the series.
With ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan long-since retired, Dilshan is expecting other players to step up to the mark.
He said: "In the past 20 years or so we have depended on the spin of Muralitharan for our success.
"Murali is a bowler who can take six-eight wickets in an innings, we have still not found anyone who can do it consistently as him."
Dilshan is expecting a difficult task, but remains confident his team have the ability to succeed.
"Pakistan have a mix of experienced and young talent in their line-up. It won't be easy beating them but it will be a good challenge. I think we can take on that challenge and beat them," he added.
"We have not played Test matches in the UAE but we have watched videos of the Tests played there by Pakistan.
"I don't know what the conditions and the pitch will be like playing a Test series during this time of the year."
After the three Test matches come five one-day internationals and a one-off Twenty20 clash.