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PAK v SL, 2nd Test Preview: Pakistan’s fortress under siege; Lankan lions aim a historic series win

Banking on the brilliance of the warrior in Rangana Herath, Lankans snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat in the first Test.

Pakistan Team
Pakistan team (Photo Source: Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Ever since UAE became Pakistan cricket team’s home ground post the 2009 terror attack, it turned from an adopted home to an impregnable fortress. Not once did they lose a Test series in since they played there for the first time in 2010 and though a lot of teams came close, the unpredictable Pakistan side somehow crawled towards a draw or managed to win the series out of the blue.

After two of their powerhouses in Younis Khan and Misbah Ul Haq hung up their boots, a team which looked too fragile even for associate nations came to life and is threatening to break the barricades and march past the territories. Sri Lanka’s performance on the final day was scintillating, at the same time unexpected. Banking on the brilliance of the warrior in Rangana Herath, they snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat.

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Sri Lanka will miss out on Angelo Mathews in the second Test as well and that’s quite a loss for them. Nevertheless, they have a bunch of unproven match winners, who possess immeasurable talents which never were used with perfection. A huge test lies ahead of them as Pakistan was nowhere close to performing badly, barring the final session on day 5. That proved to be the game-changer, but coach Mickey Arthur will definitely tell his troops there’s nothing to panic.

Sri Lanka’s sensational performance added life to this series and after witnessing one of the greatest test matches ever played in cricket history, both these teams will be expected to get involved in an another intense, intriguing and impeccable battle.

Toss: Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat

Pakistan (Playing XI): Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed(w/c), Mohammad Amir, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Abbas

Sri Lanka (Playing XI): Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal(c), Niroshan Dickwella(w), Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage, Nuwan Pradeep

Debutants: Sadeera Samarawickrama and Lahiru Gamage in for Lahiru Thirimanne and Lakshan Sandakan.

 

Focus will be on

Dinesh Chandimal (Sri Lanka)

Following Rangana Herath’s heroics, people seemed to have ignored skipper Dinesh Chandimal’s mind-boggling century which helped them post a daunting total on board. He was brutally patient with his approach and the way he stitched partnerships with Dilruwan Perera, Niroshan Dickwella and Dimuth Karunaratne proved to be decisive. On his day, he makes batting look ridiculously easy and even when things are not in his favour, he fights against the adversities brilliantly. Chandimal is quite a character and we’ve seen glimpses of what he can do in the first Test.

Yasir Shah (Pakistan)

If Sri Lanka has Rangana Herath, Pakistan has Yasir Shah. The canny wrist spinner worked wonders for his side in the first Test and he’s always a threat in these conditions. A fact that he manages to grip the ball on tracks which don’t assist the spinners makes him all the more special. He picked up three wickets in the first innings in the first Test and followed up with a five-fer in the second innings. A vital cog in the Pakistan side, he’s the biggest threat the Islanders will have to tackle.

Playing combinations

Pakistan

Shan Masood and Sami Aslam gave a brilliant start in the first innings but failed miserably in the second attempt. They’ll anyways open the batting with the on song Azhar Ali coming in at 3. Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed and Haris Sohail comprise a strong, competent middle order which will pose a serious threat.

Yasir Shah without a shadow of a doubt will be the most important member in the bowling unit. With Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Abbas comprising the fast bowling unit, Sri Lanka will have a tough time with the bat, just the way they had in the previous game.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a trust worthy runs contributor theBanking on the brilliance of the warrior in Rangana Herath, they snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat. se days in Dimuth Karunaratne and he will be opening the innings alongside Kaushal Silva. Lahiru Thirimanne will be coming at number 3 and the skipper will be expecting a good show from this experienced campaigner. Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella will comprise the middle order.

Rangana Herath being the spearhead, might surprise people by taking the new ball sometimes. His partner in crime Dilruwan Perera supported him brilliantly and picked up three priceless wickets. The fast bowlers Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan pradeep will have to pull up their socks in order to keep their place in tact, same applies to the other spinner Lakshan Sandakan.

StatAttack

136 – The lowest 4th innings target which Sri Lanka managed to defend in their history.

100 – Rangana Herath is only the fourth bowler in cricket history and only active cricketer to have picked up 100 wickets in the fourth innings.

6 – Mohammad Amir is 6 short of 100 Test wickets.

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