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July 23, 2009
Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam has said his team are in a good position to pick up a consolation win in the three-Test series, after setting Sri Lanka a high target of 492 for victory at the SSC.
"We are in a better position to win, compared to the other two," said Intikhab. "In the last two Tests, every time we got into winning positions, we lost while batting second. This time we are bowling second. With 309 runs still needed, naturally we have a better chance of winning this Test. It's been a very absorbing Test match and it has still got a long way to go. We've still got to get seven more wickets and they need to score the runs."
Alam said the pitch had something for the bowlers, provided they bowled flatter through the air. "The wicket has got a bit easier but the odd ball does turn. It's not a wicket where you can flight the ball, you need to push the ball through the air and then you'll get a little bit of turn."
"Though we have lost the series it is extremely important for us to win this match. It would give a great boost and confidence to the side."
According to Alam the series had helped Pakistan acclimatise back into the five-day fold, having played only seven in the last two years before arriving in Sri Lanka. "I am not one who makes excuses but we haven't played much Test cricket in the past two years," he said. "When you play too much ODIs and Twenty20 cricket all the time, it takes time to get into the groove of Test cricket. You need a lot of determination and a lot of patience, it's a different game altogether. These three Test matches will go a long way for us."
Pakistan's spinners Danish Kaneria, Saeed Ajmal and Shoaib Malik accounted for 11 of the 13 Sri Lankan wickets to fall, and Alam justified the selection of two specialist slow bowlers. "The reason why we played two spinners is that we were hoping to win the toss and bat first," he said. "But it happened the other way round. They won the toss and put us in so we succeeded in the sense that on a wicket like this which has a very dry surface, spinners will play a huge part."
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