Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Pallekele June 8, 2012

Another tough test awaits batsmen


Match Facts

Saturday, June 9
Start time 1430 (0900 GMT)

The Big Picture

Weren't the limited-overs formats, especially in the subcontinent, supposed to be a batsman's game? The two Twenty20s in Hambantota and the first ODI in Pallekele have all been about the bowlers though, with the batsmen being tested in seaming conditions reminiscent of cricket in the early English summer. The frequent rain interruptions during Thursday's one-dayer added to that impression.

June is not cricket season in Sri Lanka traditionally, mainly due to the wet weather. Only two ODI series have been played in Sri Lanka in that month: the Nidahas Trophy in 1998 which had half its matches wiped out by rain, and the Asia Cup in 2010 which was held in the dry zone of Dambulla. Like the first ODI, rain is expected during Saturday's match.

Pakistan will like a repeat of the result on Thursday, but not a reprise of their fielding. They put down a handful of simple catches on their way to a straightforward victory, disproving the old adage that "catches win matches". Another aspect they will want to improve is the discipline while bowling - the 23 wides they bowled made up one-sixth of Sri Lanka's total.

Sri Lanka were pretty much out of the game within the first 15 overs, as their experienced top order failed against the swing and seam. They had slid to 68 for 6 when Saeed Ajmal was introduced. The form of Sri Lanka's top-three batsmen - Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, none of whom have crossed 20 in three games this series - remains a concern.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

Pakistan WWLWW
Sri Lanka LLLLL

Watch out for...

Mohammad Sami, playing his first ODI in more than five years, got a dream surface to bowl on which the ball was jagging around so much, the batsmen could barely get bat on it.. Sami revelled in the conditions, working up some solid pace as he finished with 3 for 19.

Tillakaratne Dilshan was the top run-getter in the CB series earlier this year, but had an indifferent time at both the Asia Cup and the IPL. The lacklustre run has continued in this series as well, with Dilshan going for the adventurous hits even before gauging the tricky tracks on offer.

Team news

One question for Pakistan to ponder is whether to get in an extra batsman, given how difficult run-making has proved. They went in with Shahid Afridi at No. 6 in the first ODI, making their batting line-up look a little shallow.

Pakistan (likely) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Azhar Ali, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 5 Umar Akmal, 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 8 Sohail Tanvir, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Mohammad Sami

Despite the heavy defeat on Thursday, Sri Lanka are likely to go in with the same XI.

Sri Lanka (likely) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Upul Tharanga, 6 Lahiru Thirimanne, 7 Angelo Mathews, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Rangana Herath, 11 Lasith Malinga

Stats and trivia

  • In their last 14 matches against Pakistan, Sri Lanka have crossed 250 only twice

  • With 30 wickets, Lasith Malinga is comfortably the leading wicket-taker of the year in ODIs

  • Sri Lanka are among Umar Akmal's preferred opposition sides: in 12 innings, he has a hundred and four half-centuries against them with his 506 runs coming at an average of 56.22

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 9, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    SL Must Change there Batting order Promoting Upul Tharanga as opener and Mahela as 5 Down Remember Tharanga scored 133 in Palekale Las WC in 10th march 2011 with building partnership as opening stand 283 with Dilshan I Like to See the Repeat the Same ....

  • Wicky on June 9, 2012, 8:28 GMT

    I wish bst of luck to both friendly rivals,if pak gets sucesful in getng top 3 wickts then misbah should through d ball to afridi rather than hafez,since afridi can rip through midle n lowr midl ordr.Anyhow tuff day in d office 4 batsmen on both sides,i wish curators could have prepard a beter stuf than this.@Pak92,well done mate,

  • Dummy4 on June 9, 2012, 8:14 GMT

    This series will win by rain..

  • Dummy4 on June 9, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    Open with Dilshan and Tharanga..........Mahela and sri Lanka is better off this way,The middle order becomes more stronger with someone like Mahela down there.....All the Best Sri Lanka.

  • Dummy4 on June 9, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    Azhar Ali is not an opner it is just wasting his skills.

  • Mujahid on June 9, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    I would be pleased to see asad shafiq replacing azhar ali for todays game because Azhar ali is a very limited player having no strokes at all for the liking of shorter formats of the game (ODI and T20).. while asad shafiq is a very exciting player to watch.. Pakistan desperately needs an opener who can give them quick as well as solid start and in my view, asad shafiq is a good blend of solidarity and aggression. He has got a really good technique against both pace and spin..

  • mazen on June 9, 2012, 7:42 GMT

    India has never got bowler that matches the caliber of Wasim, Waqar and Shoib. They even have never got anywhere near when it comes to fas bowling department. However, India has produced batsmen like Sachin and a few others. I have to agree that Indian team has never been a balanced team since its inception, if we draw a comparison between these two. But i do confess that the present Indian team is the most competent team ever. If Pakistan able to produce some batting giants like javed Miandad, Inzmam or Muhammed yousaf then I don't have any doubts in my mind regarding the effectiveness of this team.

  • Dummy4 on June 9, 2012, 7:42 GMT

    National cricket team to that of a village tennis ball cricket team where the captain gets to bat first followed by the other big boys, Arjuna Ranatunga is a case in point. As the years passed and as he was saddled with responsibility he didn't promote himself up the order, but down and down he went and the end result was that he ended up with just two ODI centuries. He may have not got 20 centuries or many Man of the Match awards, but he won us a World Cup.

  • Kashif on June 9, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    Pakistan ll win the Match with big Total....... INSHALLAH

  • Owais on June 9, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    To my Pakistani brothers, please dont get ahead of yourself, this match is anybody's game. Its cricket. And our team has proved time and again that we may be extremely talented, we are also known for our mercurial style and inconsistency. Finally we should not bring India in all this affair, they have beaten us in bigger stages many a times. Unless our team reverses this trend, I would keep mum.

  • No featured comments at the moment.