COLOMBO: Sri Lanka are determined to prevent a Pakistan resurgence as they seek their first Test-series win in three years when the second match starts in Colombo tomorrow.
The hosts will start as firm favourites at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) after thumping Pakistan by 209 runs with a day to spare in Galle to take the lead in the three-match series. Sri Lanka have not won a Test series since defeating New Zealand 2-0 at home in August 2009 and have struggled to make an impact after spin king Muttiah Muralitharan quit the five-day format in 2010.
They have lost five series and drawn three since the success against New Zealand — twice allowing the opposition to bounce back after winning the opening encounter. Veteran captain Mahela Jayawardene was wary of slipping on the proverbial banana skin again.
“We have to be positive,” said Jayawardene. “There are two more matches to go and we need to put the Galle match behind and keep improving. We need to be a lot more consistent with bowling, batting and fielding. A lot of hard work is required going into the next Test. We need to handle the conditions at the SSC very well and try and get on top of the opposition and keep the pressure.”
Pakistan to get Misbah boost
The tourists, meanwhile, will welcome back captain Misbahul Haq, who was banned for the Galle Test after his team’s slow over-rate during the final One-Day International (ODI) in Colombo on June 18.
The tourists need Misbah’s calming influence and also his presence in the middle-order after they were shot out for 100 and 300 in Galle on a spin-friendly pitch.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2012.
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