Pakistan v Sri Lanka 2013-14 December 29, 2013

'May be rustiness' for Test-starved Sri Lanka - Herath


Rangana Herath, the Sri Lanka left-arm spinner, has expressed concern about his country's lack of Test matches this year, with their last long-format game being played more than nine months ago, at home against Bangladesh. Herath said it would be easier to perform if they played the format more often, though he believes his side is up for the challenge against Pakistan in the UAE, starting on Tuesday; it will be Sri Lanka's first Test outing against a top-eight opposition in almost a year.

"If you play regularly then its much easier to keep your form alive," Herath said. "As a team, we last played in March, and since then no games, so you can say there may be some rustiness, and you [will] need practice to shake its off, but you can't control these things. We, after all, had good five [ODI] games and we are almost ready for the three Tests."

Sri Lanka had a two-hour training session at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the venue of the first Test, with Herath rolling his arm over for the first time in nearly a month. He had missed the ODI series due to personal reasons, but was not concerned about his personal form.

"I have played some one-day games so there should be no rust for me. I have done well against Pakistan. I have more than 50 wickets [against them], but everything is [in the] past."

Herath has 51 wickets in 12 matches against Pakistan, and his last bowling figures in Test cricket were 5 for 68 and 7 for 89. He refuses to see Pakistan's batting line-up as brittle, though.

"It's the sort [his record against Pakistan] of thing that you can only take confidence from. But Pakistan is a good side with only Shan [Masood] a new face, so it's not easy to take them down. As a bowler, I know my responsibilities and I need to start from the beginning, day after tomorrow."

When asked about his opposite number Saeed Ajmal, he was generous in his praise but did not concede any ground. "Ajmal is a very good bowler, his record is very good," Herath said. "But even if I take my record in Tests, I have done well in the last four-five years, so some can say that it's a battle, but I am not concerned about Ajmal. I am concerned about my team and how I am going to perform."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 30, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    akshaykatyura: We Pakistani fans DREAD Sangakarra. Surely he is Srilanka's trump card in any series against us.

  • Shahab on December 30, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    Pak must try Rahat Ali, he really looked impressive in Zim. He has the pace, bounce and above all ability to swing the ball in to right handers. As per current form, Junaid and Rahat should be given a chance. This is surely make or break series for Adnan Akmal. Azhar Ali, Younis and Misbah will score lot of runs. The same opening pair that played last test Vs SA should be tried for the first two test and given confidence. If PAK play sensible cricket they have the team to white wash the test series. Fielding is the key especially close in fielders while spinners are on and slip catching. All the best.

  • Akshay on December 30, 2013, 5:37 GMT

    Sanga should retire now .

  • Prashan on December 30, 2013, 0:58 GMT

    Pakistan have the upper hand indeed but no way will SL be easy pushovers. Result could well be 2-1 Pakistan or 1-0 Pakistan as our bowling is poor to run through a side twice or at least sustain a series.

  • Dummy on December 29, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    Srilanka seems to have some good yougesters.if they adjust with the conditions quickly.we might see some good test cricket

  • ejaz on December 29, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    sri lanka needs to be brave and field a young batting side even if they loose a few matches,the senior players like jayawardena and sanga should give their place to the younger players.the batting side should be picked fromkushal,munaweera,thirimanna,dimuk karu,mathews,chandi,priyanjan.perera, and the bowling side from players if they are fit ,that pool should be baw and bmj mendis,senanyeka,dananjaya,eranga,kulasekara,walagedara in a matter of two series these guys can form a great team

  • Dummy4 on December 29, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    now Sri Lanka batting depend on SANGAKKARA and Mahela. let us see what will do others.

  • Dummy4 on December 29, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    Win or lose, playing Lanka is always good cricket. The Lankan guys are classy professionals - I write as a Pakistan fan but undoubtedly Lanka is my 2nd side. Best of luck to both sides.

  • Satwant on December 29, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    Pakistan bowling is way classier than SL. SL slightly ahead in batting because of Sanga, Mahela in tests but familiarity with the conditions in UAE keeps Pak ahead overall IMO.\n @yohandf spinners become better with age sometimes as the control kicks in eg - swann

  • Dummy4 on December 29, 2013, 17:18 GMT

    It will be a tough series for sri lanka. but as a sri lanken cricket fan we still hope the best from our team

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