Happy venue for Younis and Akmal
After a high-scoring draw in Karachi, the bandwagon shifts to Lahore, where Mahela Jayawardene will lead Sri Lanka for the last time, and Younis Khan will aim to win his first full Test series as captain. Both captains had personal highs to celebrate in Karachi, but the match itself was poor advertisement for Test cricket.
It's uncertain if the pitch in Lahore will offer more assistance to the bowlers - three years back Pakistan and India played out another dull draw, with the Indian openers adding 410 for the opening wicket, but in the last nine Tests here, since 2000, six have produced results. Even more encouragingly for Pakistan, they've won five of those, against New Zealand, South Africa, India, England, and West Indies. However, the only team to beat them during this period is Sri Lanka - they achieved a convincing eight-wicket win in the final of the Asian Test Championship in 2002.
|Pakistan - overall||39||12||6||21|
|Pakistan - since 2000||9||5||1||3|
|Sri Lanka - overall||3||1||1||1|
The two centurions for Pakistan from the first Test, Younis and Kamran Akmal, have both been prolific in Lahore as well. Akmal, especially, has a stunning record here - in six innings, his scores read 5, 154, 102*, 78, 52 and 71, for an aggregate of 462 at an average of 92.40. Younis has enjoyed his time in the middle as well, with two hundreds in five Tests and an average of 62.14. Some of the others, though, haven't had such a fabulous time - Shoaib Malik and Salman Butt both have fairly modest numbers.
|Kamran Akmal||5||462||92.40||2/ 3|
|Younis Khan||5||435||62.14||2/ 0|
|Asim Kamal||3||177||59.00||0/ 2|
|Shoaib Malik||6||238||34.00||0/ 2|
|Salman Butt||3||80||20.00||0/ 0|
Among the Sri Lankans, Jayawardene is the only one to play two Tests here. He has done reasonably well, averaging 44.67. The last time they played here, though, the batting star was Kumar Sangakkara, who notched up a double-hundred, helping Sri Lanka amass 528 in the first innings. Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas then took over with the ball - Murali took 8 for 127 while Vaas contributed 6 for 147 in that comprehensive victory.
Pakistan's chief spinner, Danish Kaneria, has relished the pitch at the Gaddafi Stadium too, taking 32 wickets in seven matches at an impressive average of 25.84. Umar Gul has an excellent record here as well, with 19 wickets from three Tests at 21.63 apiece. He has two five-wicket hauls at this ground, both of which led to Man-of-the-Match awards. Those are the only match awards Gul has won in his 17-Test career.
Overall, spinners have a marginally better record here than fast bowlers in Tests since 2000 - they average a shade less than 38, while fast bowlers average more than 41 per wicket. Both have four five-wicket hauls during this period - Shoaib Akhtar and Gul have two each among the fast bowlers, while Kaneria (twice), Saqlain Mushtaq and Paul Adams have done it among the spinners.
|Type||Wickets||Average||Strike rate||5WI/ 10WM|
The team which wins the toss is almost certain to bat first, despite results which suggest bowling first is the better option here. In the last seven Tests the captain winning the toss has batted, only to lose four of those Tests. The last team to bowl first was Sri Lanka, in the Asian Test Championship final, which they won.
|Won the toss||7||11||21|
Winning the toss hasn't been such a blessing here, as the table above suggests - of the 18 matches which have ended decisively, 11 have been won by the team which lost the toss, and quite surprisingly, 15 have been won by the team batting second. (Click here for a summary of all Tests played here.) The problem for most teams has been batting in the third innings, in which the average runs per wicket, in Tests since 2000, falls to 29.02, much lower than the corresponding stat in the first three innings. In six completed third innings since 2000, teams have been bowled out for less than 300 five times. On each occasion they've lost the Test.
|1st innings||2nd innings||3rd innings||4th innings|
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo