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October 20, 2011
Sri Lanka have an enormous challenge ahead of them to save the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, but their batting coach Marvan Atapattu has said his team can do it. Sri Lanka trail by 267 with nine wickets in hand in their second innings and two days to go.
"We really have to bat well in the second innings and I am sure the boys will do their best to save this match," Atapattu said.
Sri Lanka conceded a first-innings lead of 314 after they were dismissed for 197 and Pakistan replied with 511 for 6 declared. Atapattu said the opportunity had been lost with the first-innings collapse.
"I feel that we missed an opportunity. It's certainly not a 200-pitch and we all accept that," he said. "We were at least short by a good 100 runs. The outfield is not fast by any means and the wicket wasn't a batting-friendly wicket for a start. I wouldn't say it was two-paced but there was something there for bowlers who were ready to bend their backs."
"It's hard conditions, tough conditions. Obviously, we knew what we were against, but we weren't at our best. Tomorrow will be a new day and hopefully the ones who missed out will have a good day tomorrow."
One batsmen who thrived in these tough conditions was Pakistan opener Taufeeq Umar, whose 12-hour double-century set-up Pakistan's push towards victory. His 236 was the first double-hundred by a Pakistan opener since Aamer Sohail's 205 at Old Trafford in 1992.
"It was my burning desire to score a Test double-hundred," Taufeeq said. "I am delighted to hear that I am in an illustrious company of Hanif [Mohammad] and Sohail. It was very hot, but I kept telling myself that my team needed me to stay and I achieved that to put my team in a strong position."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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