Waqar credited for Pakistan win
Modest man of the match Abdul Razzaq deflected any praise for Pakistan's four-wicket one day international victory over Sri Lanka onto new bowling coach Waqar Younis.
Razzaq came to his side's rescue with an unusually restrained 41 not out from 101 deliveries as the tourists hobbled past a low target of 131 in the second ODI in Colombo.
Victory had looked a formality after they dismissed their hosts for a paltry 130, an excellent team bowling display led by Rana Naved-ul-Hasan's 3-23, Razzaq almost as impressive with 2-19.
But on a difficult pitch, Sri Lanka hit back, decimating the Pakistan top order to leave their opponents reeling on 82 for six.
Razzaq - whose ODI strike rate averages 81 - and Kamran Akmal held their nerve to guide the team to 134 for six but it was Waqar who earned the plaudits from the game's star man.
“I thought our bowlers bowled very well on a helpful pitch,” Razzaq said. “We bowled a lot of good balls and very little wides and no balls.
“I think our bowling coach Waqar Younis has been a great strength. He has given us the confidence we need. That has helped a lot.
“When I went in to bat I knew the pitch was difficult but was determined to play according to the situation and I am glad I was able to be there to the end.”
Waqar - who took 373 Test wickets in a glittering 14-year international career - was appointed bowling coach last week and it was not only Razzaq who gave credit for the win to the Pakistan bowling great.
Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq also believes he has already made a real difference to the side.
“Having our bowling coach Waqar Younis has been a real strength to us,” Inzamam said. “He has used his experience and worked well with our young bowlers.”
But the skipper also paid tribute to Razzaq`s contribution.
He said: “We chased the 131 well after losing too many wickets at the start. Razzaq batted very well and was no doubt the main reason for our victory. The wicket was not easy to bat on and the Sri Lanka bowlers bowled very well in those conditions.
“The boys have worked hard on their fielding. We are looking forward to the third game which will be at the SSC where we know that the ball comes on much quicker than here.”
Opposite number Mahela Jayawardene Sri Lanka praised his own side's bowlers but felt Razzaq's experience told.
“Definitely our guys bowled very well,” he said. “I was glad at the way they applied the pressure. Ours is a young and an inexperienced bowling line up.
“However, Abdul Razzaq's experience prevailed and that was the key factor in their victory.
“On a slow track it was not easy to bowl and the way our bowlers responded so strongly was fantastic. We have also emphasised a lot on fielding as we believe that 30% of the game is won by fielding. Our guys have worked very hard at fielding and they did perform very well.
“I thought we lost far too many wickets and other than (Tillakaratne) Dilshan nobody really was able to apply himself. Say a score of around 150 to 160 would have been a good score and a tough one to get.”
Pakistan lead the series 1-0 after Friday's first match was abandoned due to rain. The third and final match is on Wednesday.