Lankans looking to win Test and series
Elmo RODRIGOPULLE reporting
The Sinhalese Sports Club has proved a lucky playing field for the
Sri Lankans who will be determined to maintain that superiority when
they meet Pakistan in the Second of Three Tests starting today at
The Lankans last lost a Test there in 2004 and since have played and
won six of their last 11 Tests.
Led admirably by Skipper Mahela Jayawardena, the Lankans outplayed
the Pakistanis in Galle and will mount an all out assault on the
opponents in an endeavour to wrap up the game and win the Test series
like they did the One-day series.
The Pakistanis showed that their cricket was on the up and up, after
victories against Sri Lanka and England in desert country must be hurt
after their trouncing in Galle and are sure to fire all cylinders
looking for a win to square the series and then leaving the decider for
The return of regular skipper Misbah Ul-Haq will certainly inspire
the Pakistanis. They missed his calming influence and who also would
have been a steadying influence in batting.
The Pakistani batsmen put up a better batting effort in the second
innings led by the experienced Younus Khan and young Asad Shafiq and
will be looking for runs from Mohammed Hafeez and the captain.
As for the bowling, they will be relying on the best off spinner in
world cricket, Saeed Ajmal to work his magic and skittle the Lankans
like he did in the desert.
He was not his usual self in Galle. But if the wicket favours spin
and if the Lankans have to bat last, he could be a difficult and
dangerous customer with his many varieties of spin.
Their other spinners Mohamed Hafeez and left armer Abdur Rehman
worked hard and bowled tantalizingly, but had no luck. The Lankan
batsmen must be wary of Ajmal, Hafeez and Rehman.
The Pakistanis must raise the level of their fielding, both in the
air and on the ground. They have been a shame in this aspect and a much
improved effort is expected in this Test.
As for the Lankans, they will exude confidence after their great show
in Galle. But they will do well not to be complacent, because
complacency has gone to destroy many a team.
With his inspiring leadership Jayawardena, will have his men on their
toes and will not let them relax, be urge them to perform at maximum
until the final ball is bowled and victory achieved.
Sri Lanka is not likely to change their winning combination. But the
men selecting the final eleven will do so after looking at the wicket
and the conditions.
Once again Tillekeratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, the two
Jayawardena’s Mahela and Prasanna must make it their business to run up
big scores. Tharanga Paranavitarne and Angelo Matthews must also
Paranavitarne has the habit of getting his eye in and when seemed set
for a big innings, throws it away with an irresponsible stroke. He
should bat with determination in this Test make a big score and cement
his place in the team.
As for the bowlers Kulasekekera is hard worker with the new ball. He
moves it both ways and the batsmen are kept guessing. His partner Nuwan
Pradeep has speed and must vary his deliveries. Again the spin attack
will be in the capable hands of left arm spinner Rangana Hearth and off
spinner Suraj Randiv. Both bowled beautifully in Galle and will be
looking to continue the good work.
The teams will be looking for mistake free umpiring in this Test. Let
not the losing team blame poor umpiring for losing.