Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Dubai October 25, 2011

Can either team take twenty wickets?


Match Facts

Pakistan v Sri Lanka, October 26, Dubai
Start time 1000 (0600 GMT)

Big Picture

Pakistan wasted the opportunity to go 1-0 up in Abu Dhabi by dropping several catches in Sri Lanka's second innings. Sri Lanka pulled off a great escape, wiping out a 314-run deficit by batting more than two days to save the Test. So who possesses that intangible advantage - momentum - as the teams prepare for battle in Dubai?

Tillakaratne Dilshan said firmly that his team held the edge. He would, of course. Having been pushed into the tightest of corners, they found a way out, through the resolute batting of Kumar Sangakkara and Prasanna Jayawardene. However, the rest of their batsmen, with the exception of Angelo Mathews, failed in both innings. So there's no real reason for the others to go to Dubai with increased confidence. The greater worry, though, is their bowling attack, which managed to take only seven Pakistan wickets in 184.4 overs on a pitch that was not especially flat. And a flat one will be on offer sooner or later in the UAE.

Pakistan, on the other hand, dominated four days of the Test only to waste all their hard work through a spate of dropped chances that allowed both Sangakkara and Prasanna Jayawardene to bat for much longer than they should have. Pakistan's batsmen found run-scoring easy against an ineffective Sri Lankan attack, but it was the performance of their bowlers that will have encouraged them. The fast bowlers found movement and the spinners extracted turn to dismiss Sri Lanka for 197, a first-innings total far below par on that pitch. Even in the second innings, when batting appeared easier, they created plenty of chances. It wasn't their fault their fielders didn't take them. The challenge for Pakistan, however, will be to summon the energy to do it all over again, in conditions as hot and on a pitch that might not be as responsive.

Form guide

Sri Lanka: DDDLD
Pakistan: DWWLD


Back-to-back Tests are tough on the fitness of players in most conditions, but the intensity of the challenge rises significantly when they are played in the fierce heat of the desert. Pakistan's fast bowlers had plenty of work to do in Abu Dhabi, and if they can produce a similar effort - challenging Sri Lanka with pace, movement and accuracy - it will be a testament to their fitness and talent.

With Angelo Mathews not bowling, Sri Lanka had only a four-bowler attack, plus part-timer Dilshan, in Abu Dhabi, of which Rangana Herath was the solitary specialist spinner. He toiled for 63.4 overs but could pick up only three Pakistan wickets. Sri Lanka will need more from their most-experienced bowler, around whom the fast bowlers will have to be rotated. To his credit, though, Herath did control the run-flow effectively.

Team news

Taufeeq Umar, who batted 12 hours for a double-century in Abu Dhabi, had a finger injury during the Test that prevented him from fielding in the slips. Interim coach Mohsin Khan said Umar Gul also had a few niggles, but nothing serious. Both should be fit to play, and if there are no other fitness issues, expect Pakistan to name an unchanged XI.

Pakistan (likely): 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Taufeeq Umar, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Asad Shafiq, 7 Adnan Akmal (wk), 8 Umar Gul, 9 Aizaz Cheema, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Junaid Khan

Sri Lanka could tinker with their bowling attack, considering the one used in Abu Dhabi struggled to make an impact. Nuwan Pradeep went wicketless on debut. Their bowling bench-strength comprises fast bowler Dhammika Prasad and offspinner Suraj Randiv. The inability of Mathews to bowl severely affects the balance of their team because there is space for only four specialist bowlers and no allrounder.

Sri Lanka (likely): 1 Tharanga Paranavitana, 2 Lahiru Thirimanne, 3 Kumar Sangakkara, 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), 8 Nuwan Pradeep/Dhammika Prasad/Suraj Randiv, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Chanaka Welegedera, 11 Suranga Lakmal.

Pitch and conditions

The temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30s but the pitch temperature will be a few degrees higher. Tillakaratne Dilshan said he expected the pitch to have more bounce than the one in Abu Dhabi did. "A good test wicket," he called it.

Stats & Trivia

  • There were four hundreds scored in Dubai's maiden Test, when Pakistan played South Africa last year. In the second innings, the two teams scored an aggregate of 661 runs for the loss of five wickets; in the first, they scored 628 for the loss of 20. Three out of four hundreds were scored in the second innings.

  • Since the beginning of 2009, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have added five century partnerships in seven innings. Their partnerships are: 130, 186*, 3, 142, 118, 100, 8* - 687 runs at 137.40.

  • Kumar Sangakkara needs 32 to equal Inzamam-ul-Haq's record for most runs scored in Tests between these two teams. Inzamam scored 1559 in 31 innings; Sangakkara has 1527 in 21, at an average of 80.36.


" After such a [bad] performance in the field, we got two days so we have worked really hard on that, let's hope for the best in the second test"
Misbah-ul-Haq on Pakistan's catching.

"We had discussions on which area to improve and did that in training sessions. As a batting unit we are fully prepared to do well in this Test. Confidence is really high after the way we made a comeback and did so many things to save it [the first Test]."
Tillakaratne Dilshan.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    pakistan did really a good in batting and bowling but thier fielders let them down.

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    i think paranavithana needto be drop and replace chandimal his position.paranavithana look only own runs & not looking to win the game.rarely a get boundries.that's why chandi important to the team.

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2011, 5:15 GMT

    well it was a dissapointing outing for pakistani boys in abu dhabi after taking a lead of 314 .actually defeats are humiliating but sometimes draws can klike these really prickle you. i have to admit that pakistani team really needs to lift their fielding up . sri lankans are really struggling to take wickets wiyhout murali

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    The answer to 20 wickets lies in the raltive strength - the better batting V better bowling, conditional ofcourse to a fair wicket.

    Pakistan achivement in ist test was: Test batting stay power and big score. They cross 500 with a double by the opener. They lost the victory to fielding, but also bad luck. Strange catches some time are taken and dropped by th e best and the weakest fielders. The fact also remains, fairly and squarely that Batter Jaywender's (LBW unquestiionably wrong decision)took the match away from Pakistan at the most crucial stage.

    To Lankans: They proved their batting and fielding strength,, just as their Captain's inning when most needed. They are`psychologically down without their ace spinner Murli. Should he have been around with his action to begin with, will be debated for long time as question of disability of one against handicap of another. CRICKET IS WAR TODAY.

  • Manesh on October 26, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    Srilanka will win the match!

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2011, 3:00 GMT

    in reply to TeamSelector..............Ajmal is one of the best offspin....u should never take him out.......he is the king of doosra

  • Usman on October 26, 2011, 2:37 GMT

    My Team 1.Taufeeq 2. Hafeez 3. Azhar 4. Younis 5. Misbah 6. Adnan 7. Wahab 8. Umar Gul 9. Aizaz 10. Junaid 11. Saeed Ajmal

    We should have 5 front line bowlers to take 20 wickets on this pitch. But still to win a match we need a captain who wants to win. Misbah should be replaced with Hafeez as captain as a captian.

  • Johnathon on October 26, 2011, 2:35 GMT

    Drop Paranavitan. That man is nothing is but bad for Lanka. All he does is slow the innings and get the momentum in the opposition's hands. Promote Dilly up the order to open with Thirimanne and either put Chandimal to replace Parana, or some allrounder. Bowling-wise, I would like to see Pradeep get another chance (he did bowl good in the beginning of 2nd day...) but I think Lakmal, Welegedera, Herath, and Randiv should be chosen. Lanka seems to be bent on their Murali configuration (3 seamers and Murali), but HErath is no Murali. 2 seamer/2 spinners combination is not bad if the spinners are good. A decent spinner is better than a crap seamer anyday, regardless of the configuration. Randiv's height can extract good bounce from the pitch as well. Looks like it will be a 350 pitch, but due to complaints, the pitch curators might make it less batting friendly to a 300 pitch

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2011, 2:28 GMT

    with current team SL will find it difficult, Paranavitana needs to be dropped so Chandimal can come in and Mahela can open batting, Sl bowling is awefull but they have no better options really so they cant do anything about it they just suck, they struggled to get even 1 wicket last test so they shouldnt even dream of getting 20 wickets.

  • Saeed on October 26, 2011, 0:11 GMT

    Most people are saying that Pakistan should make one or two changes, but I think if they really want to win the second Test (as oppose to another draw); then they should make three changes. The first one is easy, Malik for Shafiq. Malik is more experienced, is an additional bowling option, can adapt his game & score quickly if need be & is one of Pakistan's better fielders. The second one is Wahab for Cheema. I think Wahab is a better wicket taker & two left handed seamers might create more problems for SL. Now for the third change ...... since we now have [2] right handed offies in Hafeez & Malik ...... then the logical change should be the leftie Rehman for Ajmal.

    1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Taufeeq Umar, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Adnan Akmal (wk), 8 Abdur Rehman, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Wahab Riaz, 11 Junaid Khan.

  • No featured comments at the moment.