Malik rues 'suicidal' run-out
Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik insisted losing the captaincy was no longer on his mind after scoring a half-century on the third day of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Karachi.
Pakistan were 78 for two, in reply to Sri Lanka's first innings score of 644 for seven declared when Malik came to the crease.
He made 56, putting on 149 for the third wicket with his successor as captain, Younus Khan, to steady the ship.
Malik was forced to relinquish the captaincy last month after he presided over a crushing defeat against Sri Lanka in the one-day series that preceded the Test leg of the tour.
He was subsequently branded “aloof” and a “loner” in a report by coach Intikhab Alam to the Pakistan Cricket Board.
Malik said today: “I haven't thought about the captaincy issue. I've been concentrating on playing for the team and for the country.
“Younus has encouraged me and he has great confidence in me. I enjoyed this innings and I'm very happy being a player in this team and playing for my country.”
Pakistan closed day three on 296 for three and Malik thought his stand with the skipper, unbeaten on 149 at stumps, was key to his side’s recovery.
“It was a crucial partnership given that we were chasing 644,” he said. “It's always a difficult task when your chasing such a huge score.
“They have a great spin attack so my focus was on playing a good innings. I'm happy that I did.
“Younus' knock was marvellous and I'm sure he will continue tomorrow.”
Malik's own innings ended prematurely when he was run out, attempting a single which he described as “suicidal”.
Malik pushed a delivery from Ajantha Mendis wide of mid-off and set off for a single, but was caught well short of the crease at the non-striker's end when Muttiah Muralitharan broke the stumps with an accurate throw.
“That run was suicidal and it's not something you should do in Test cricket,” he said.
“I had gotten a half-century and there was a century there for the taking.
“I think I have learnt a lesson from this.”
Malik said saving the match was not beyond Pakistan, but felt the first session tomorrow would hold the key.
“We'll try our best to save this match. The first session tomorrow would be crucial and we are prepared for it,” he said.
“We have to see we don't lose too many wickets in that session and with two experienced batsmen at the crease I'm sure we will approach the task well.”
Younus will resume one short of his 150, with Misbah-ul-Haq 20 not out.