About the Match
Sri Lanka won the 2nd test against Pakistan by 7 wickets to draw level and the two teams will now battle it out for the series title when they meet for the third and final test on 3rd July at Pallekelle. Pakistan had won the first test convincingly by 10 wickets and will be eager to triumph in the upcoming match. On the other hand, the Lankans will be expected to rise above their weaknesses and use the home advantage to win the next match and lift the title again.
Hafeez will not be featuring in the next match but apart from this the squad remains much the same; they had a fantastic win in the first match but couldn’t be consistent with the bat in the second test. The bowlers Yasir Shah who claimed 6-96 in the first innings of the last match continues to impress with his talent and he will definitely lead the attack in the third test too; Babar and Junaid Khan contributed with wickets but the others need to step up to provide the much-required boost. On the batting front, Azhar Ali looks promising as he posted a good 117 off 308 in the 2nd innings of the last match while Ahmed Shehzad and Younis Khan too look to be in good form. In the first test, Asad Shafiq shone with his brilliant 131 runs and Sarfraz contributed with 96 to power the scoreboard to 417 in the first innings; this foundation gave the bowlers the required confidence to take out the Lankans with ease. They will have to make a comeback in the next match if they want to reap the benefits of their good performance after a long time here; they definitely have the youth and the experience to outwit the hosts and take the series.
Dhammika Prasad’s 7-wicket haul in the second test helped the team dominate the Pakistani batting line-up as he demolished the top order in the first innings with 3-43. He got great support from Kaushal who claimed 5-42 that left the opponent whimpering away at just 138 runs. Prasad came back in the second innings to claim 4 wickets and along with Chameera, Herath and Mathews, they restricted Pakistan to 329. The batsmen took the opportunity to build the foundation but only Silva and Mathews could keep their feet firmly on the ground to post 315 runs. With a target of 153 runs left to win the match, Karunaratne held his own and scored 50 to help his captain take the team safely towards victory. Sangakkara who couldn’t impress much with the bat, getting out for a duck in the 2nd innings, will be replaced by Upul Tharanga. They have a good set of emerging bowlers like Prasad, Kaushal and Chameera and if they strategize well against the Pakistani batsmen, nothing can stop this unit from winning the match again.
It has been a long wait for the Pakistanis and they are on the verge of winning their first test in Sri Lanka after almost a decade; however, Sri Lanka has started to come to its elements with their good performance in the 2nd test and look better placed to wrap it up with a series win