ABU DHABI: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq termed the one-day victories over South Africa and Sri Lanka as “special wins” which meant his team ended a tough year on a high.
Pakistan beat South Africa 2-1 last month - their first-ever one-day series win over the Proteas - before clinching the Sri Lanka series 3-2 on Friday.
Even though Pakistan lost the fifth and final match by two wickets in Abu Dhabi, Misbah said the series win was satisfying.
“I think it was a tough year for us but the two series we won in South Africa and now against Sri Lanka, they are very special and ended our year on a high note,” Misbah said after Friday's game.
The win over Sri Lanka was Pakistan's seventh one-day series win this year -- their best-ever in a calendar year -- which also included a 2-1 victory against India in January.
Misbah hoped the one-day series win over Sri Lanka would lift his team's morale ahead of the three-Test series starting in Abu Dhabi from Tuesday.
“We did struggle in the middle of the year,” said Misbah of Pakistan's loss in the Champions Trophy in June in England.
“We have to improve our fielding because we had Friday's match in our hands but we let it go because of poor fielding.”
Misbah hit a solid 51 to end the year with 1373 runs in 34 one-days -- the highest by any player in 2013 -- to lead Pakistan to 232 all out. Sri Lanka sneaked through in the final over with Dinesh Chandimal hitting an unbeaten 64.
Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews showed disappointment over the series loss.
“We were good enough to get over it but I think we were nowhere near our brand of cricket and disappointed that we lost the series,” said Mathews, describing defeat in the first match as the turning point.
“If you look at the series, the first game was very crucial, we lost that by 11 runs and had we won that game we would have been sitting 3-2 winners,”said Mathews of the match in Sharjah.
Sri Lanka levelled the series in Dubai with a two-wicket win before Pakistan won the third and fourth matches to take an unbeatable 3-1 lead.
Mathews said his team will be more competitive in Tests with experienced batsman Mahela Jayawardene and ace spinner Rangana Herath joining the squad.
“We played without Herath and Jayawardene in the one-days but they will back for the Tests and so we will be at our full strength and we will be more competitive,” said Mathews.
The second Test will be played in Dubai (January 4-8) and the third in Sharjah (January 16-20).