After a sea-saw performance that forced Pakistan to settle for a draw in the first Test, the ‘hosts’ will look to bury the ghosts when they take on Sri Lanka in the second Test at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium from today.
A brilliant start with the ball was followed by a cautious approach with the bat, but one that placed Pakistan in a winning position. However, like so often in the past, the butterfingers let the match slip out of their grasp and, together with Kumar Sangakkara’s resolve and the dedication of Prassana Jayawardene, Pakistan failed to convert their dominance into a win.
What could have been an innings-win turned out to be a draw, denting Pakistan’s hopes of improving their Test rankings. They now need to win both the remaining Tests to go fifth.
Dilshan aims stronger comeback
Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, who contributed just 28 runs in the first game, has already declared that his side holds the psychological advantage, going into the second Test.
“We were well behind and we survived,” said Dilshan. “Since this is a long series we have to come out strongly in each match. We have to put runs on the board so that this young bowling attack has some confidence.
“We had discussions on which area to improve and did that in training sessions,” added Dilshan, whose team has drawn nine and lost three of their last 12 Tests.
The captain also suggested a change in their bowling attack, better suited to the Dubai pitch that favours the bowlers more.
“I have seen the pitch, it’s different to the Abu Dhabi strip and might have extra bounce and give help to the bowlers. Maybe we will try to bring in another fast-bowler or spinner to get more edge.”
‘Players worked hard on fielding’
While Sri Lanka take confidence from their rearguard action that saved them the match, Pakistan aim for a killer-instinct, which was lacking in the first Test. Captain Misbahul Haq, and understandably so, said the team focused on fielding drills.
“After such a [bad] performance in the field, we got two days so we have worked really hard on that,” said Misbah, who played down a slight niggle to fast-bowler Umar Gul. “He’s okay, a little bit of stiffness, but no problem. We have all 15 players available for selection.”
Pakistan may bring in left-armer Wahab Riaz in place of Aizaz Cheema who managed just two wickets in the first Test with Misbah agreeing with his counterpart on the Dubai pitch.
“The last time when we played here, it had a bit more turn and a bit more bounce, so it’s different from Abu Dhabi.” (With additional input from AFP)
“After such a [bad] performance in the field, we got two days so we have worked really hard on that. Let’s hope for the best in the second Test. Gul’s ok, a little bit of stiffness, but no problem. We have all 15 players available for selection.”
“Since this is a long series we have to come out strongly in each match. We have to put runs on the board so that this young bowling attack has some confidence. We had discussions on which area to improve and did that in training sessions.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2011.
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