About the Match
Avenging their previous defeats, Pakistan registered an emphatic 10-wicket victory against Sri Lanka in the first test; the two nations will now play the 2nd test from 25th June at Colombo. The Pakistanis pulled off an amazing win which came after a gap of nine years against Sri Lanka, thanks to an all-round effort by both batsmen and bowlers. The hosts on the other hand will be determined to bounce back with all their might. The upcoming test match will surely provide all the entertainment one looks for in a thrilling contest between established batsmen and attacking bowlers.
The team has risen like a phoenix from the ashes and their first test victory against the hosts has definitely given them a shot in the arm; they will go all out in the upcoming match to wrap the series on a high note. Yasir Shah’s 7-wicket haul in the 2nd innings set up the tempo for the victory while Wahab Riaz and Babar took 3 wickets each to restrict the Lankans to 300 runs in the first innings; they came back in the 2nd innings to support Shah and claimed 3 wickets between them. Although the bowlers stole the show in the first match, the batsmen too played a big role with Asad Shafiq scoring a brilliant 131 off 253 to give them the required lead; Sarfraz Ahmed fell short of a century by 4 runs but had done enough to build a solid partnership of 139 runs, the highest in the match, with Shafiq for the 6th wicket. Younis Khan, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez along with the captain Misbah are in good form and are expected to rise to the occasion yet again. Bowling is their strength and we will surely expect a lot of firepower from them in the upcoming match.
Put into bat first, the Lankans could only manage 300 runs in the first innings despite a heroic 125 by Kaushal Silva, who partnered with Sangakkara to post a 112-run stand for the 2nd wicket. However, the others in the middle order like Thirimanne, Mathews, Chandimal and Perera failed to build solid partnerships. Even in the 2nd innings, apart from Karunaratne who posted a well-made 79, the others failed to make a mark, achieving only 206 runs getting all-out by the 78th over. They failed to read the Pakistani bowlers and fell easy prey to their tactics whether in facing spin or pace attack. On the bowling front, Dilruwan Perera was impressive claiming 4 wickets in the first innings but couldn’t repeat the performance; Dhammika Prasad is another promising player as he scalped 3 wickets while Pradeep and Herath provided the required support. However, with low scores on board against a rejuvenated Pakistani batting line-up, the bowlers failed to come up with anything impressive. The batsmen need to pull up their socks and come out all guns blazing against bowlers like Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz and Junaid Khan; they definitely have the talent and guts to do so.
While Pakistan is peaking at the right time with promising young players and experienced seniors doing their bit to help the team, Sri Lanka, which seems to be down and out will definitely strategize well to bounce back with a much-needed win in the next match, but keeping the possibility of draw in mind, I expect a draw.