Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sharjah January 15, 2014

Struggling Pakistan look for second wind

73

Match facts

Thursday, January 16 - January 20, 2014
Start time 1000 local (0600 GMT)

Big Picture

As an engrossing tour winds up, Pakistan find themselves in need of a considerable change in momentum to draw the series, while Sri Lanka seek to build on the significant improvements they have achieved in the Tests so far. Suggestions that Pakistan were favourites, in the approach to the contest, seem distant now.

Pakistan might have entered the series on a high, but find themselves on the back foot in the final Test. Their pace attack remains a decent threat, but has been unproductive so far, while spinners have struggled on pitches without much turn.

The inconsistency of the top order has also affected Pakistan's combination. Mohammad Hafeez was rewarded for his one-day form but he failed to extend his aptitude in the longer-format of the game, scoring 11, 80*, 21 and 1 at No. 3, while Ahmed Shehzad has also failed. The selection of Hafeez and Shehzad meant that the specialist No. 3 batsman, Azhar Ali, and Shan Masood were benched.

In Dubai, Sri Lanka were in control of the match from the second session on day one until they hit the winning runs on the fifth afternoon. Consistency from their fast bowlers was key to that victory, but the batsmen have all worked themselves into form as well, with Nos 1 to 7 hitting half-centuries.

Kumar Sangakkara has, in the past, been Sri Lanka's sledgehammer against Pakistan, but among the more unexpected features of the 1-0 lead is that he has only contributed modestly towards it. He has played Saeed Ajmal exceedingly well in the past, but even without a big innings from him, Sri Lanka's batsmen have played Ajmal safely, if not always with ease. Misbah-ul-Haq has called for a dry pitch in Sharjah and, if he gets his wish, it will be clear whether the Sri Lanka batsmen were just fortunate to play Ajmal on unresponsive surfaces, or whether they have collectively learned to neutralise him as no other team has done in recent years.

As a team, Sri Lanka have also played within themselves, adhering strictly and persistently to the plans of attack devised in the dressing room. At times, Pakistan have tried to wear Sri Lanka down, only to find their opponents were more resilient. Awash with inexperience, Sri Lanka will not want to change a good thing, so it may be up to Pakistan to change the tempo of the cricket in order to put the visitors under pressure.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
Pakistan: LDLWL
Sri Lanka: WDWDL

In the spotlight

Dimuth Karunaratne has deserved his extended stretch in the national team after sustained excellence at the A-team level, but he is yet to seal his place atop the innings. A natural strokemaker, particularly gifted through the leg side, Karunaratne has had the habit of making good starts before falling prey to his own ambition and playing one stroke too many. There is enough in his cricket to convince fans and selectors that he can succeed in Tests, but in a series where many others in the top-order have outshone him, at least one score above fifty in Sharjah will put him at ease ahead of the Bangladesh tour.

Saeed Ajmal is under the spotlight once again. He was wicketless in the second innings in Abu Dhabi for 49 overs, conceding 115 runs, and had to wait another 28.2 overs in Dubai to take his first wicket, making the stretch 77.2 overs. He is desperate to put his fluctuating form in the last two Tests behind him.

Pitch and conditions

The track in Sharjah looks flatter and if a batting-friendly pitch is prepared, it may help the team batting first. The pitch is also expected to offer turn from the third day.

Teams news

Pakistan will be forced to bring in a bowler in place of pacer Bilawal Bhatti, who injured his hamstring during the second Test and may look to add left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman to strengthen their spin reserves.

Pakistan (probable): 1. Shan Masood/Ahmed Shehzad, 2. Khurram Manzoor, 3. Mohammad Hafeez/Azhar Ali, 4. Younis Khan, 5. Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6. Asad Shafiq 7. Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), 8. Saeed Ajmal, 9. Rahat Ali/Mohammad Talha, 10. Junaid Khan, 11. Abdur Rehman

Mahela Jayawardene's split webbing means he is unlikely to field in the slips, but he is almost certain to play, having trained normally in the approach to the match. If the pitch looks likely to take turn, Sri Lanka may rest Nuwan Pradeep, who was short of his quickest pace in the second innings in Dubai, and play a second spinner. Sachithra Senanayake may get a second game, but uncapped Dilruwan Perera is also in the side, and is the more highly-rated offspinner in first-class cricket. Elsewhere, Angelo Mathews will not want to change a winning combination, even if his team is a little light on bowling options.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1. Dimuth Karunaratne, 2. Kaushal Silva, 3. Kumar Sangakkara, 4. Mahela Jayawardene, 5. Dinesh Chandimal, 6. Angelo Mathews (capt), 7. Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), 8. Sachithra Senanayake/ Dilruwan Perera/Nuwan Pradeep, 9 Shaminda Eranga, 10 Rangana Herath, 11 Suranga Lakmal

Stats and trivia

  • Kumar Sangakkara has at least one hundred in each of his six previous series against Pakistan.
  • Dimuth Karunaratne's lowest score in the series is 24, and he only has one half-century.
  • Junaid Khan is the leading wicket-taker in the series, with 11 scalps at 26.09.

Quotes

"In the past there was a feeling that the fast bowlers aren't effective, but we were able to change that idea on this tour."
Sri Lanka fast bowler Suranga Lakmal

"We have to really put some effort and get a result which we want, to level the series. There is no other option for us."
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq

Arnold: A lot depends on the pitch

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here; Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Solid_Snake on January 16, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    Team selection is great for this match..But this pitch is not something which would give us a result.I wonder what was in mind of PCB while preparing pitches.We should have gone for a win but we got a lifeless flat track instead.Now we will see piles of runs in this match..

    PS:Talha bowled beautifully..His control over line and length is just too good..Great action and Pace..Far better than Rahat Ali..Best of luck to hope Talha get more wickets and stays in the team.We need more youngsters like that..

  • Solid_Snake on January 16, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    @mzm149:Khurram Manzoor's place in the team is questionable but Asad Shafiq should be given more chances.He has proved himself already.Manzoor on the other hand has got so many flaws.I wonder how Manzoor made it into the team.Shan Masood when compared to him is technically better yet he was dropped just after 2 matches..

  • safwan_tauseef on January 16, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    A good team selection from pakistan but should be the last chance for Asad Shafeeq. Dont wory pakistan loss the toss if pakistani bowlers make their line and lenth in the right areas thay should change the match. Good Luck team pakistan

  • mzm149 on January 16, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    Retaining Asad Shafiq and Khurram Manzoor is mind boggling. I think they have to keep 2 or 3 quota players, no matter how bad they are.

  • on January 16, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    how is win this match

  • dual.citizen on January 16, 2014, 5:37 GMT

    Shan masood is definitely not better than Shehzad, later has greater potential and former has FC average of less than 35 certainly below par for an opener. He should not have been there in the first place. Shehzad is also a useful leg break bowler and should be used for change and when nothing else works. Let him place 3rd test to give him confidence, we have no better alternative. BUT Hafeez should be dropped otherwise he may lose confidence and we will be without services of a useful one day player. Another spinner may be required too.

  • Zeeeeb104 on January 16, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    pakistan line up should b (from cricinfo research)

    1 shan masood 2 israhullah 3 umar siddiq 4 younis khan 5 misbah ul haq 6 aamed sajjad 7 umar akmal/mohammed hasan 8 abdur rehman/saeed ajmal 9 nasir malik 10 junaid khan 11 mohammed tahla

  • on January 16, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    One more chance for hafeez

  • on January 16, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    Sri Lanka should secure series victory 2-0 provided the fast bowlers copy what they did in the second test, get closer to the stump at point of delivery, keep the ball closer to the off stump and let the pitch and the conditions do the rest. When you try too many things, you tend to err. KISS is the answer. Also just forget that you won the second test because you cannot live in the past but concentrate on this match in total. Do not become too bullish about the last win because one mistake and it can go the other way. Prior to the match in team talk must tell in particular to the young ones that it is not about resting on your laurels but seeing this as a new day and new match and work moment to moment. Above all should not live neither in the past nor present but this moment.

  • on January 16, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    @zakir habib man why persist with hafeez..he is useless at even number 6..because a number 6 batsman has to play the new ball in on average of 20 overs time when he comes to the crease...hafeez is a liability that need to be settled by kicking him out and saying, "STAY OUT !!!"

  • Solid_Snake on January 16, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    Team selection is great for this match..But this pitch is not something which would give us a result.I wonder what was in mind of PCB while preparing pitches.We should have gone for a win but we got a lifeless flat track instead.Now we will see piles of runs in this match..

    PS:Talha bowled beautifully..His control over line and length is just too good..Great action and Pace..Far better than Rahat Ali..Best of luck to hope Talha get more wickets and stays in the team.We need more youngsters like that..

  • Solid_Snake on January 16, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    @mzm149:Khurram Manzoor's place in the team is questionable but Asad Shafiq should be given more chances.He has proved himself already.Manzoor on the other hand has got so many flaws.I wonder how Manzoor made it into the team.Shan Masood when compared to him is technically better yet he was dropped just after 2 matches..

  • safwan_tauseef on January 16, 2014, 5:58 GMT

    A good team selection from pakistan but should be the last chance for Asad Shafeeq. Dont wory pakistan loss the toss if pakistani bowlers make their line and lenth in the right areas thay should change the match. Good Luck team pakistan

  • mzm149 on January 16, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    Retaining Asad Shafiq and Khurram Manzoor is mind boggling. I think they have to keep 2 or 3 quota players, no matter how bad they are.

  • on January 16, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    how is win this match

  • dual.citizen on January 16, 2014, 5:37 GMT

    Shan masood is definitely not better than Shehzad, later has greater potential and former has FC average of less than 35 certainly below par for an opener. He should not have been there in the first place. Shehzad is also a useful leg break bowler and should be used for change and when nothing else works. Let him place 3rd test to give him confidence, we have no better alternative. BUT Hafeez should be dropped otherwise he may lose confidence and we will be without services of a useful one day player. Another spinner may be required too.

  • Zeeeeb104 on January 16, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    pakistan line up should b (from cricinfo research)

    1 shan masood 2 israhullah 3 umar siddiq 4 younis khan 5 misbah ul haq 6 aamed sajjad 7 umar akmal/mohammed hasan 8 abdur rehman/saeed ajmal 9 nasir malik 10 junaid khan 11 mohammed tahla

  • on January 16, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    One more chance for hafeez

  • on January 16, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    Sri Lanka should secure series victory 2-0 provided the fast bowlers copy what they did in the second test, get closer to the stump at point of delivery, keep the ball closer to the off stump and let the pitch and the conditions do the rest. When you try too many things, you tend to err. KISS is the answer. Also just forget that you won the second test because you cannot live in the past but concentrate on this match in total. Do not become too bullish about the last win because one mistake and it can go the other way. Prior to the match in team talk must tell in particular to the young ones that it is not about resting on your laurels but seeing this as a new day and new match and work moment to moment. Above all should not live neither in the past nor present but this moment.

  • on January 16, 2014, 4:10 GMT

    @zakir habib man why persist with hafeez..he is useless at even number 6..because a number 6 batsman has to play the new ball in on average of 20 overs time when he comes to the crease...hafeez is a liability that need to be settled by kicking him out and saying, "STAY OUT !!!"

  • on January 16, 2014, 3:57 GMT

    i think pakistan should drop asad shafiq to bring mohammad hafeez at number 6 to givie place for azhar ali at number 3 we know that hafeez is useless with new ball so give him chance at number 6....asad is really boring character and

  • chandhureddy on January 16, 2014, 3:52 GMT

    Pakistan looks to me the most inconsistent side among the cricketing nations. In a series they will win with a huge margin and in the next match they will loose very badly. I am sure they are gonna bounce back and win this test match.

  • Zeeeeb104 on January 16, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    if my above post was read by any1 the pakistan line up would end up looking like this...Shan Masood, Nasir Jamshed, Haris Sohail, Younis Khan, Misbah Ul-Haq, Aamer Sajjad, Mohammed Hasan, Abdur Rehman, Junaid Khan, Nasir Malik, Mohammed Tahla. :)

  • Zeeeeb104 on January 16, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    Khurram Manzoor is a useless batsman with no technique and should b dropped for Shan Masood... and maybe give Nasir Jamshed a chance he scored back to back hundreds against india and then got dropped which was stupid.... Misbah and Younis r senior players and should keep their position... but the pakistan team has a big failure in their batting line up but dont give any of their youngsters a chance they should try Haris Sohail and maybe Aamer Sajjad as their performances in domestic cricket has been excellent... i think pakistan should get a decent wicketkeeper batsman as Safraz is useless... So is all of the Akmals i think maybe trying Mohammed Hasan as his keeping records in domestic have been also excellent... Pakistans bowling line up is good but could b perfected Junaid Khan should stay... try Mohammed Tahla... Bring Abdur Rehman as Saeed Ajmal has to much of a workload and also try Nasir Malik who is top wicket taker in domestic which would give Pakistan a good mixture...

  • on January 16, 2014, 3:36 GMT

    the Pakistani system is to blame here....if you concentrate, preference is being given to those players who are playing or have played in Misbah own department team in domestic circuit...now if merit is going to be bulldozed like this way, then we are always going to see Pakistan play like this.

  • Nuwas on January 16, 2014, 3:20 GMT

    Yeah play dilruwan inplace of Chandimal, he really hasn't done much accept for the innings in the 1st test, 3 pacers & 2 spiners will rattle Paks batting big time & we got enough batters to deal Pak bowlers , afterall dilruwan is decent batter as well. Just make that change SL will be on top from day 1 again. Good luck to both teams & wish SL would grab this as a win as well.

  • on January 16, 2014, 3:18 GMT

    Asad shafiq will secure his place after scoring some runs and would also maintainhis sspot in the odi squad. He is a permanent member of the odi squad and has permanently failed. In tests he fails to play the new ball and comes in to bat at the easiest possible position. As soon as the second new ball comes he is on his way. He got out the same way even when he was batting all set on his century and did the same thing in the last test too. The century in sa was also on aflat track when the ball had lost its shine. As soon as the New ball came he got out. He hides behind misbah and yonus and that is how he has scored his runs. Rizwan should be given s chance as keeper because sarfraz goofedup while keeping as well

  • on January 16, 2014, 3:07 GMT

    the biggest news today was Zaka ashrafs return as pcb chairman ,but this india centric cric info is talkling about how they can relegate pakistan with nonentities like bangladesh.wake up world i smell a rat.

  • SriLankanYoungBlood on January 16, 2014, 2:47 GMT

    I think it's better if same team would played. This article say about Sachie and Dilruwan but when it's come to Sachie he is still T20 defensive bowler who couldn't get at least 1 wicket in 5 match ODI Series and 1st Test.Before playing test he should prove himself as a ODI bowler. Dilruwan will be magic when it's come to NZ,WI or SA but not PAK. 1-7 Pak batsmen r play spin very well even in spin friendly track .so it's no use of Dilruwan or Sachie in place of Pradeep whose speed reduce 10 k(145 to 135) but still effective than above spinners. Fans say Sanga will feature will Double Hundred let's see how he will get Double Hundred. All the best to Both Teams.

  • ahassnain on January 16, 2014, 2:39 GMT

    Hafeez and Khuram Manzoor to be dropped and replaced by Shan Maqsood and Abdru Rehman. Previously mostly fans have only been in the favor of having Hafeez in the team only due to the fact that he would perhaps be the next captain after Misbah retires - and quite obviously hes far more aggressive in nature that Misbah as well - but it is now to a stage where his dismissals outside the off stump in the same manner - is causing a negative impact on the team - Hes one of those players who is only effective on the pitches where there's no bounce and movement at all. Khuram manzoor also is one of the worst opening batsmen we have ever had. An opener at test level playing with that technique is quite unusual. Having Abdur Rehman in the side would put less pressure on Ajmal - Rahat Ali also have not been able to impress at all

  • somethingdifferent on January 16, 2014, 2:20 GMT

    If Pakistan team management does not lack common sense the playing should be: Shan, Khurram, Azhar, Younus, Misbah, Hafeez, Sarfraz, Ajmal, Talha, Junaid, Abdur Rehman/Gul. If they persist with any of Shahzad, Asad Shafiq and Rahat SL will win this series. Although Hafeez also doesnot deserve to be in the side but as there are no other batsmen in the squad to replace Asad, hafeez may be given another chance which will also provide an extra bowling option.

  • PakWinWorldCupxXx on January 16, 2014, 2:09 GMT

    Pakistan should try Muhammad Talha, try to see what he got. I'm sure that young youngster will perform excellent!

  • Assertive-Indian on January 16, 2014, 1:38 GMT

    Although on a given day Pak can surprise any team. But there is no consistency, which is typical of most minnow teams. Rightful ranking for Pakistan is just above Zimbabwe.

  • outforhatrick on January 15, 2014, 22:51 GMT

    Pak can bounce back in this game, they done before also especially in UAE they have showed lot of resilience. SL should not be complacent and keep the basics going rite which has kept them in good stead through this series till date. Expecting a tough fight, but the team batting first would be at advantage in this game, So win the toss and bat First should be the formula as both teams have one good spinner in their lineup. Pak can also bring in the left arm spinner,which will add variety to the attack. For SL no changes required, look a balanced side for these conditions. All the best to both teams!!!

  • on January 15, 2014, 22:46 GMT

    Shan Masood and Azhar Ali should come for M. Hafeez and Ahmad Shahzad. M Hafeez should play some domestic and county cricket before he ever comes back to test because it's not giving any justice to his form in ONe Day. Rahat Ali should definitely replace Bhatti as there will be a balance of 2 seamers and 2 spinners as frontline bowlers. Rahat should continue as it will be interesting to see his progress, he definitely has the pace, just needs to elarn from his experiences

  • on January 15, 2014, 22:06 GMT

    Misbahulhaq needs to b active and aggressive.Hafeez b relegated to no 6 position.Shan masood must play.Also Rahman..Please for God s sake Rahat not only should go home but get some practice at club level.Talha should play.Asad Shafiq no way.give some one else a chance.Shahzad must be persevered. Ajmal,Rehman and Hafeez full spinning trio for test.Mr What more this is ur last test. ENOUGH

  • t20cric on January 15, 2014, 21:43 GMT

    The onus is on Pakistan to make this one a competition. The top 3 definitely need to be changed or else Pakistan will not win. Our middle order is still relatively strong with Misbah and Younis. I think Khurram needs to be dropped for Shan, Asad dropped for Azhar (but batting at no.3), Bilawal dropped for Rehman and Rahat dropped for Talha. This way the XI looks like:

    1.Ahmed Shehzad, 2.Shan Masood, 3.Azhar Ali, 4.Younis Khan, 5.Misbah-ul-haq, 6.Mohammad Hafeez, 7.Sarfraz Ahmed, 8.Abdur Rehman, 9.Saeed Ajmal, 10.Mohammad Talha, 11.Junaid Khan.

    This way we have 3 spinners & 2 quality pacers. The top order is different so this one may actually work but Shehzad has to show temperament and Azhar needs to show his class. Hafeez is probably more suited at no.6 and with Sarfraz he may put up a good fight but he'll need to bowl more. But one has to admit the squad selection isn't good as this seems like the best team even though most batsmen avg 30 in this team. Insha Allah Pakistan can win.

  • mazdonal on January 15, 2014, 21:38 GMT

    Instead of continuing to let Ajmal try and find his form at last, why not try Abdurrehman?. He is a half way decent batsman too. Ajmal can prove his point some other time in less pressing circumstances.

    Bilawal has been a REAL find. His presence will be sorely missed. He is a real pocket rocket both with bat and ball. He is a busy little fielder too. A real Shabash to the lad.

    Rahat Ali is over weight, lacks fitness completely, a lack lustre bowler and a hopeless fielder. Out with him. Typcal Shifarishi.

  • a.syed81 on January 15, 2014, 21:38 GMT

    All of those who wonder why Hafeez is playing in test team. The answer is simple. He is Misbah's good friend and it's Misbah who includes him in the team.

  • PakWinWorldCupxXx on January 15, 2014, 21:10 GMT

    Sometimes I say Misbah should be captain, and sometimes I say Misbah needs to fix his decisions, let me give you guarantee, if misbah keeps his team as it was in 1st test, then its sure pakistan will lose, try all different, bring in Shan Masood in for Ahmad Shahzad, ahmad shahzad is only t20 and odi player, because he is big striker, big strikers are not needed in test or they would get out, Shan Masood will surely do better, Muhammad Hafeez is also no more a test pllayer or i would say not anymore because his test form is gone, it will take him a while to get it back. Bring in Azhar Ali for Hafeez. I don't know the way Rahat Ali performed in 1st Test was totally unacceptable, Misbah will do big mistake if he lets Rahat Ali stay in team, please bring the new Muhammad Talha, I'm sure he is impatient to show his bowling. Listen if this kind of team could beat South Africa in 1st Test with bowlers like Steyn, Philander, Morkel, etc. Then I'm sure Pakistan can beat SL easily. Good Luck!:)

  • Imtiaz-6393 on January 15, 2014, 21:03 GMT

    1) Times off for Asad Shafiq and Azhar ali is more better test player than him. So asad shafiq should be kick off from the team. 2) Rahat ali is also not capable of playing and should not be selected, Abdur rahman is better than him and should be given chance today. 3) If Bilawal is injured then Muhammad Talha should get chance.

    And finally we lost the last match because Rahat ali and asad shafiq. sorry to both on saying that.

  • on January 15, 2014, 20:46 GMT

    Hafeez and Khuram Manzoor should be replaced with Sharjeel and Sohaib Maqsood. Rahat Ali should be replaced with Abdur Rehamn.

  • on January 15, 2014, 20:36 GMT

    Previously I have always been a fan of having Hafeez in every match - only due to the fact that he could potentially be our next captain after Misbah retires. And I must also agree that he's somehow slightly aggressive captain than Misbah - However I think now is a time that perhaps everyone is sick of him - this guy has no, to little technique for a moving delivery outside the off stump. He can only be effective if he plays on a track with no bounce and 0% movement. Having him specially in a test is now becoming a liability. Hes considered to be as a senior batsman in the team now, his dismissals in the same manner each time is extremely negative on the team. The other batsman that doesn't deserve a space in the team is Khuram Manzoor. Again no technique at all, he has perhaps the worst technique for something outside the off stump. Player of his caliber can not be an opener for an international test team. He looked like a 'Night watch man' the first time I saw him bat.

  • SaadRocx on January 15, 2014, 20:29 GMT

    Should drop Hafeez bring Azhar Ali back, should drop Rahat bring Talha back, drop Bhatti and Rehman in.

  • gham on January 15, 2014, 19:47 GMT

    I think that they should drop hafeez as well as Rahat,because i had enough of hafeez he can,t even play a moving ball especially on the off stump and i don,t know that why the pakistani selecters keep picking him for test cricket. He has the worst technique in the current pakistan squad. He should never be select again in Test cricket.

  • ziazai on January 15, 2014, 19:39 GMT

    My very simple comments that Rahat Ali, Asad Shafiq and Hafeez should be kicked off.

    Everyone in the team is playing to secure his place, so is shown by Khurram Manzoor.

    Saeed Ajmal is a great player but he should have been given rest otherwise he will loose his confidence and once the confidence gone takes too much time to get back because he is our match winner.

    For Misbah, he should change his defensive approach and try to make supportive wickets.

  • on January 15, 2014, 19:30 GMT

    bring in Azhar Ali and Rehman replacing Hafeez and Rahat. Dont like khurram manzoors technique. can try Shan Masood

  • on January 15, 2014, 19:17 GMT

    even rahat fateh ali khan is better than rahat ali.. wahab riaz should play test cricket

  • shahnbej on January 15, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    As it is Pakistan Home series and in home series there is no fix number of player. So why not Pakistan change player for any match. I think Ajmal, Bahtti, and Rahat should be replaced by Zufiqar , Gul and one more player.

  • on January 15, 2014, 18:59 GMT

    I think Pakistani batsmen have made a very ordinary bowling attack look good. With the utmost respect lakmal and pradeep will be slaughtered by any other batting line up. Erranga has something about him but an ok bowler for most of the times. I will not waste words and energy on how bad this pakistani batting line up is a whole especially the top order. Good thing that Zaka Ashraf is back and hopefully all the dramas and controversies with regards to the chairman is resolved and will see some consistency. Wishful thinking but miracles do happen.

  • on January 15, 2014, 18:58 GMT

    i blame misbah for supporting hafeez is not a test player and rahat should never play for Pakistan again he his below average baller

  • TheKeeper on January 15, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    IMHO if the wicket is a turner, then Sri Lanka will find the batting easier than Pakistan. You do need good technique, patience and a solid defence to play long sessions of spin - none of the things Pakistan batsman are famous for - and that's why we hear Misbah calling for application and discipline from his team.

  • yorkslanka on January 15, 2014, 18:13 GMT

    There is a lot of talk about adding an extra spinner for SL, not sure myself but if so I think it's risky losing a batsman against a quality bowling outfit like Pakistan. We need to make sure we don't lose this match so we can win the series..good luck to both teams but hoping SL win.

  • Tusharg007 on January 15, 2014, 18:10 GMT

    Misbah as a batsmen is better but won't able to make things count for a team as a leader

  • stormy16 on January 15, 2014, 18:05 GMT

    Its up to Pakistan to make the running in this game given SL have the lead. Calling a spinning tracks seems to be Pakistans option but Herath is no mug and Sachithra brings an unknown element to the game as no one really knows his much. I would be very surprised if Sanga is going to go through the whole series without having an impact and given the younger guys have done a good job, I expect Sanga to stnad up. SL only need to bat well once to keep Pakistan at bay and I feel Pakistan have put themselves under pressure by focusing on wickets etc.

  • on January 15, 2014, 17:51 GMT

    shahzad should not be part of team, Nasir was given only two chances so considering that merit selection shahzad should be left out but he will not be because he is famous in doing TC of Misbah and Hafeez... Umar Akmal is having great injustice only bcz of Misbah.

  • mzm149 on January 15, 2014, 17:29 GMT

    Asad Shafiq should be kicked out of the team. He has started failing in test matches as well after constant failure in ODIs. His last two test centuries were of no use to Pakistan as Pakistan lost both of them.

    Hafeez should be given last chance at number 6. If he fails, he should be dropped too.

    Khurram Manzoor has proved time and again that he has faulty technique but our selectors have given him enough chances already.

    Ahmed Shehzad will not get easier conditions and opponents than this series. It was a perfect début for him. Nasir Jamshed made his début against South Africa at their home ground. He was dropped after two games and never selected again. Ahmed should make full use of this opportunity. This may be last chance for him in test cricket.

    Sarfraz will have to show that his last innings were not one time show. Otherwise Rizwan is in pipeline and Adnan Akmal will recover too.

    I think we should bid Rahat Ali good bye at least on UAE tracks.

  • on January 15, 2014, 17:19 GMT

    You reap what you sow! Pick players with domestic averages of 30s and get this kind of batting results. Give an Extended run to FAWAD ALAM and HARIS SOHAIL already.

  • on January 15, 2014, 17:08 GMT

    Kusal Janith Should be in Playing 11

  • on January 15, 2014, 17:00 GMT

    my Playing Xi Shan Masood Khurram Manzoor Azhar Ali Younis Khan Misbah Ul Haq Asad shafiq Sarfraz bilawal Ajmal Rahat Ali Abdur Rehman

  • on January 15, 2014, 16:57 GMT

    why drop excellent prasanna, when sanga or chandimal keep they make 3 -4 errors as a wicket keeper. but prasanna is excellent no drop catches, drop stumps. he is service equal to 300 + runs. chandimal should drop, he is batting performece & keeping performence very poor. Kaushal can keep than chandimal.

  • on January 15, 2014, 16:54 GMT

    hoping For Real Fight Back From Pakistan azhar Ali far more better then hafeez in tests but Pak Selectors Busy In Politics Srilanka is going In This Test As A Favouraite Good Luck Pakistan

  • danish85 on January 15, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    Misbah's demand for a dry pitch shows the defensive and cowardly mindset of the captain. Only 2 wins since THAT England series and this guy is blaming the pitch. M.Hafeez selection makes no sense. He has bowled only 23 overs in 2 test matches and his batting isn't the greatest either.

  • criclanka on January 15, 2014, 15:37 GMT

    Pakistan brothers ...... Sanga Storm is coming......Beware...

  • on January 15, 2014, 15:20 GMT

    whoever make comments pls stop making ur own team ! selectors know who should b given a GO so kindly say what should b done to improve the team rather than changing the team on ur wish

  • Prabhash1985 on January 15, 2014, 14:58 GMT

    Take it seriously, and plan every bit of it, and fight for series win, Sri Lanka! Pakistan is a great side, and they will bounce back at any moment, and that's the beauty of Pakistan team. I always remember whenever it comes to Pakistan team, that Arjuna said the team that he doesn't want to have in a world cup final is Pakistan team, and he knew how devastating they can be! Keep calm, plan it nicely, have the team unity, be humble, they are like our brothers, and try your utmost, to finish it nicely. A draw will do the job for you. I think it's better to have a good spinner in. My opinion is always Akila Dhananjaya, who can be very a lethal weapon in Sharja, given his capability to spin both ways, like a pure spinner. He is really nice to have in the team, but I'm not sure how available he is. I don't think Sachithra should be playing to be honest. He is a good ODI, T20 player for sure, but I don't think he is a good Test player, but too early to decide. All the best two teams!

  • yohandf on January 15, 2014, 14:49 GMT

    Sri Lanka is concerned , i want this line up for Sharjah - Dimuth , Kaushal , Sangakkara , Mahela , Mathews ,Chandimal . Dilruwan , Eranga , Herath , Lakmal . Pradeep . Prasanna jayawardene is good but SL need to add a spinner . they can t drop a fast bowler as all 3 did well . With Mahela is on form and Sanga is itching for a big score , they will be ok with 6 batters and Dilruwan who can bat too ( he has 3 100' & 27 fifties at domestic level) . obviously bowling will be strong . Either Kaushal silva or chandimal can keep wickets .

  • on January 15, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    SL should drop Prasanna jayawardana & chandimal should keep or vice versa so it will make room for the fifth bawler.so SL can play 3 seamers & 2 spinners.second spinner should be Dilruwan as he has a batting avg of 24 in first class and will be a balling allrounder in place of prasanna/chandimal the keeper.As Sarjah will be a batting paradise we will need bawlers to get 20 wickets. historically SL dont do well in good batting pitches (in India recent years)

  • LoveLanka on January 15, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    PAK batsmen are good players of right arm off spin. their problem is left arm spin so though the wicket may offer spin later, SL should go only with Herath. Eranga,Lakmal & Pradeep should retain to keep their spirit in tact to be productive. SL may try adding Dilruwan replacing Pradeep and(which is my pick ahead of senanayake if they want to pick one of them as senanayake was tackled with ease by PAK batsmen) if he cant take wickets then the two pacers will have to bowl more spells which might be too much to ask from the as they have already bowl alot in last two tests.

  • mzm149 on January 15, 2014, 14:03 GMT

    I hope this time Pakistani selectors will choose playing XI with some sense

    1. Shan Masood 2. Ahmed Shehzad 3. Azhar Ali 4. Younus Khan 5. Misbah ul Haq 6. Mohammad Hafeez 7. Sarfraz Ahmed 8. Abdur Rahman 9. Saeed Ajmal 10. Mohammad Talha 11. Junaid Khan

  • TheKeeper on January 15, 2014, 13:56 GMT

    Pakistan will have to come out swinging and is sure to resort to every trick in the book, but Sri Lanka will not be an easy push-over and is actually in a better position to win this game too.

    If Pakistan decide to play Abdur Rehman then Ajmal has a problem, because if AR performs better than Ajmal then Ajmal's cricket career may be over.

    GO LIONS!!! ROAR!

  • sadSajith on January 15, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    Why should SL change the 2nd match winning team combination in to the 1st match draw team combination when they going in to the 3rd match? It doesn't work for separate effort of bowlers in test cricket. It only works for combination of bowlers just as we seen in 3 fast bowler attack. Why should change it. It's ridiculous to even think about changing a winning combination just because of the pitch condition.

  • ca2ca on January 15, 2014, 13:43 GMT

    As Andrew mentioned here and have seen in Dubai Test a second spinner option is not a bad idea. SL team batting line up is 7 batsmen. Either Dinesh Chandimal or Sanga should make room for a spinner. Both mentioned spinners are not shy of adding some runs.

  • SL_rockz on January 15, 2014, 13:42 GMT

    SL will win ..Hope to see Sanga performing with hundreds.........Probably a double hundred..........

  • TheKeeper on January 15, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    Pakistan will try every trick to win, but Sri Lanka have a better chance of winning this game. Let's see what Pakistani players are made of :)

  • on January 15, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    On these sorts of wickets, it will be hard to draw series.

    Shaan should get a chance with Azhar Ali. the question is who will they drop; Khurram did scored 73 in last match, had scored 146 vs SA. But the way he gets out is very much similar every time, and like hafeez opposition can work him out. Ahmed's issue is more towards temperament. In 1st matches he gave up.

    Hafeez is simply not made for tests. But if they want to play him then play at no 6.

    Asad has also failed. they can also drop asad and play Azhar at 3 and hafeez at 6.

    Bhatti will be missing out so Talha should get a chance and for Rahat, they should play Rehman.

    1- Ahmed/Khurram 2- Shaan 3- Azhar - 4 - Younas 5- Misbah 6- Asad/hafeez 7- Sarfraz 8- Rehman 9- talha 10- Ajmal 11-Junaid.

    I would pick Ahmed & Hafeez at 6 for Khurram & Asad.

  • jerryman on January 15, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    Since the wicket may offer assistance to spinners , SL must play Dilruwan Perera as a 2nd spinner . Option will be to drop Chandimal as a middle order batsman . If Sl want to persist with Chandimal , he must either open or sanga or mahela must open and this way Karunaratne loses his place. My personal view is that Karunaratne is showing that he can offer a good opening stand , so maybe Chandimal should be dropped . Matthews also prone to injury , so will not be able to bowl .. I would like 3 pace/2 spinner option and Matthews can play as a batsman . If he could bowl it would be a bonus .. Hopefully sanga can get a 100 here. He did it the last time in Sharjah .. Good luck lions . Don't be complacent , Pakistan will come back fighting . Fielding in slips must be improved ..

  • avmd on January 15, 2014, 13:37 GMT

    Rahat failed in 4 innings, if now is not the time to bring back Talha, then when ?

  • on January 15, 2014, 13:33 GMT

    lions go ahead

  • sadSajith on January 15, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    No no no don't change the combination of the Sri Lankan team, it would be disastrous. Even if Suranga Lakmal got most wickets in dubai, Nuwan Pradeep is the one who has made it in Sri Lankas way on both innings. No matter what kind of pitch, a team needs bowlers who can take more wickets. The difference between 1st match and 2nd match is that Pakistani batsmen did find it hard to face our fast bowlers but in first match they could get away because there was only 2 and they could make runs on the spinners. It is a really stupid idea to bring bowlers just based on the pitch. We should compare who would take more wickets on the match, Pradeep or a spinner. Its pretty clear if spinners hadn't much of a success in abu dhabi they wouldn't be on Sharjah. In the otherhand it would be very bad feeling for Nuwan Pradeep if he has to sit in the bench even after the best bowling in his life. But for Sachithra it will not be effect because he hasn't succeeded in abu dhabi so he will accept it.

  • on January 15, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    As Srilanka looks for another win at Sharjah, Pakistanis are in all sorts of trouble with the injury of their leading fast bowler Bilawal Bhatti...

  • on January 15, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    sl go ahead u can win this too.

  • on January 15, 2014, 13:10 GMT

    pak shud play rehman shan and talha

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on January 15, 2014, 13:10 GMT

    pak shud play rehman shan and talha

  • on January 15, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    sl go ahead u can win this too.

  • on January 15, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    As Srilanka looks for another win at Sharjah, Pakistanis are in all sorts of trouble with the injury of their leading fast bowler Bilawal Bhatti...

  • sadSajith on January 15, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    No no no don't change the combination of the Sri Lankan team, it would be disastrous. Even if Suranga Lakmal got most wickets in dubai, Nuwan Pradeep is the one who has made it in Sri Lankas way on both innings. No matter what kind of pitch, a team needs bowlers who can take more wickets. The difference between 1st match and 2nd match is that Pakistani batsmen did find it hard to face our fast bowlers but in first match they could get away because there was only 2 and they could make runs on the spinners. It is a really stupid idea to bring bowlers just based on the pitch. We should compare who would take more wickets on the match, Pradeep or a spinner. Its pretty clear if spinners hadn't much of a success in abu dhabi they wouldn't be on Sharjah. In the otherhand it would be very bad feeling for Nuwan Pradeep if he has to sit in the bench even after the best bowling in his life. But for Sachithra it will not be effect because he hasn't succeeded in abu dhabi so he will accept it.

  • on January 15, 2014, 13:33 GMT

    lions go ahead

  • avmd on January 15, 2014, 13:37 GMT

    Rahat failed in 4 innings, if now is not the time to bring back Talha, then when ?

  • jerryman on January 15, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    Since the wicket may offer assistance to spinners , SL must play Dilruwan Perera as a 2nd spinner . Option will be to drop Chandimal as a middle order batsman . If Sl want to persist with Chandimal , he must either open or sanga or mahela must open and this way Karunaratne loses his place. My personal view is that Karunaratne is showing that he can offer a good opening stand , so maybe Chandimal should be dropped . Matthews also prone to injury , so will not be able to bowl .. I would like 3 pace/2 spinner option and Matthews can play as a batsman . If he could bowl it would be a bonus .. Hopefully sanga can get a 100 here. He did it the last time in Sharjah .. Good luck lions . Don't be complacent , Pakistan will come back fighting . Fielding in slips must be improved ..

  • on January 15, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    On these sorts of wickets, it will be hard to draw series.

    Shaan should get a chance with Azhar Ali. the question is who will they drop; Khurram did scored 73 in last match, had scored 146 vs SA. But the way he gets out is very much similar every time, and like hafeez opposition can work him out. Ahmed's issue is more towards temperament. In 1st matches he gave up.

    Hafeez is simply not made for tests. But if they want to play him then play at no 6.

    Asad has also failed. they can also drop asad and play Azhar at 3 and hafeez at 6.

    Bhatti will be missing out so Talha should get a chance and for Rahat, they should play Rehman.

    1- Ahmed/Khurram 2- Shaan 3- Azhar - 4 - Younas 5- Misbah 6- Asad/hafeez 7- Sarfraz 8- Rehman 9- talha 10- Ajmal 11-Junaid.

    I would pick Ahmed & Hafeez at 6 for Khurram & Asad.

  • TheKeeper on January 15, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    Pakistan will try every trick to win, but Sri Lanka have a better chance of winning this game. Let's see what Pakistani players are made of :)

  • SL_rockz on January 15, 2014, 13:42 GMT

    SL will win ..Hope to see Sanga performing with hundreds.........Probably a double hundred..........