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Andrew Fidel Fernando in Dubai
January 6, 2014
It is a rare match in which a Sri Lanka fast bowler delivers more than 40 overs, but the intensity of Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal's toil in the first Test has moved Mahela Jayawardene to mark them out as future matchwinners for Sri Lanka. Eranga and Lakmal bowled 41 and 46 overs respectively, sharing six wickets evenly between them.
Each bowler delivered several spells without success, but they maintained exacting discipline and pace during lengthy occupations of the bowling crease. Their first-innings efforts were particularly notable as they combined mild movement with accuracy to help keep Pakistan's scoring rate under three an over on a good batting track.
"Really happy about the way we came back in that Test," Jayawardene said. "We knew that there would be something in the pitch in the first innings, when we were out cheaply, and our fast bowlers were very good. This is the first time two fast bowlers bowled this well for us in a long time. If we can help develop those two guys, I don't think it will be hard to win overseas Tests in the future. Shaminda and Suranga both bowled really well."
Sri Lanka's batsmen, meanwhile had kept Saeed Ajmal wicketless for 49 overs in the second dig. Ajmal had never before bowled more than 20 overs without a breakthrough in the second innings, and Jayawardene suggested familiarity with Ajmal's bowling had earned Sri Lanka an edge that may prove definitive in the coming matches. This is Sri Lanka's fifth Test series against Pakistan in the past five years.
"We've played a lot of cricket against Saeed Ajmal. He's a trump bowler for his team, and we knew that if we batted well against him, we could remove that threat to some extent. The younger players batted really well against him, so hopefully we can continue that. That said, he is a very good bowler. There's a chance he can take wickets against us at any moment, but if we play him like we did in the first match and also play the quicks well, there's a good chance for us to win the series. We won the last series against Pakistan 1-0 in Sri Lanka by sticking to similar plans."
Jayawardene said Sri Lanka were pleased with the draw in Abu Dhabi, but said they would need to sustain the batsmen's form to earn a better result in Dubai.
"It's really important that we did well in the first match, having not played Tests in for so long. To be in such a bad situation against Pakistan and then to come back was really good. We got back into the game and that's what Test cricket is about. Different things happen on different days. When we are behind, we have to show a little character and we did that, even turning it into a potentially winning situation.
"But it's important to realise that's over now, and we have to go and look at this next pitch and start again. If we do that, and keep to the plans that we'll devise, it shouldn't be hard to win here."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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