Skipper Blow for Pakistan

  • Last Updated: June 21 2012, 16:47 BST

The influence of Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq will be missed during the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle, according to the man who has been tasked with leading the side.

Mohammad Hafeez: Will lead Pakistan

Misbah has been suspended from the first Test because of a slow over rate in the final match of the one-day international series with Sri Lanka, which the hosts won 3-1.

Mohammad Hafeez will lead Pakistan in the first of three Tests and he has been quick to pay tribute to the influence of Misbah, who was banned after his side fell three overs short in the ODI in Colombo on Monday.

Hafeez, who has played 26 Tests and was also named Pakistan's Twenty20 captain ahead of the current tour, said: "Misbah's calm influence will be missed, but it is a great honour to lead my country in Test cricket and I am ready for the challenge.

"Test cricket demands discipline. Everyone plays a role in it, not just the captain. We will be inspired by the good work we have done in the longer format over the past few years."

Despite playing home matches outside their own country because of security fears, Pakistan have won seven of their last nine Tests, including a 3-0 whitewash of current world ranked number one England earlier this year in the United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan are likely to rely heavily on the bowling of spinner Saeed Ajmal and the batting of the experienced Younus Khan.

Ajmal took 24 wickets in the series against England and Younus' 76 Tests make him the only player in the side to face Sri Lanka who has played more than 50 games in the longer format of the game for his country.

But Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene warned that relying too heavily on Ajmal might not bring success in Galle.

He said: "The wicket looks good and it will need a balanced attack to take 20 wickets."

Jayawardene will look to the experience of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara to provide a big score for his bowlers to take advantage of.