Cricket: Pakistan look to continue impressive run as first Test starts today

Sri Lanka aim to break jinx in cricket’s longest format.


Afp October 17, 2011

ABU DHABI: Pakistan will look to continue their impressive run in Tests when they take on Sri Lanka in the first match in Abu Dhabi today.

While Pakistan come into the game after whitewashing Zimbabwe, levelling against West Indies and South Africa and beating New Zealand, Sri Lanka have suffered from wretched form, losing three of their last five series.

Their poor form has been attributed to the retirement of spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan, which has exposed their inability to take 20 wickets in Test cricket.

Sri Lanka have also missed slinger Lasith Malinga who retired from Tests earlier this year because of injury problems, leaving the new-ball attack in inexperienced hands.

However, captain Misbahul Haq said the side was still a formidable unit. “There is no replacement for Murali,” he said. “He’s a guy who can take 10 wickets in almost every Test. It does make a difference but again, they’re a very good side even without Murali.

“In 2009 without him they beat us. They have good fast-bowlers, good spinners.”

Misbah would have the services of fast-bowlers Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz as the two return to the squad after missing the Zimbabwe series with Aizaz Cheema and Junaid Khan providing the backbone of the pace attack. However, Pakistan’s strength will be their off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, who will expect assistance from the Abu Dhabi pitch.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan wants his bowlers to help the prolific Rangana Herath to tame Pakistan. Sri Lanka have lost three Tests and drawn eight with only Herath threatening to take wickets since Muralitharan’s retirement.

Sri Lanka have five fast-bowlers for the series and Dilshan hopes they will help his team end a victory drought.

“The future for our success lies with our fast-bowlers. Among the spinners only Herath has proved himself,” he said. “If we hope to win we’ll need the support of other spinners as well.”

Sri Lanka will also hope Herath keeps his good record against Pakistan intact, having taken 15 wickets in three Tests in the 2009 series.

‘Ajmal will be the trump card’

Meanwhile, former off-spinner Iqbal Qasim rated Ajmal as the key player for Pakistan. “Ajmal is the best spinner in the line-up,” he said. “He’s a wicket-taker and conditions will suit him.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2011.

COMMENTS (2)

arshid khan | 10 years ago | Reply Pakistan we love u so much our prayers with u.
ANWAR | 10 years ago | Reply

they have made the biggest mistake by dropping tanveer ahmad all because he belongs to karachi.tanveer ahmed & talha ahmed must be the part of test squad.we should also groom hamad azam & raza hasan in place of saeed ajmal.

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