Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 2nd Test, SSC, 1st day August 14, 2014

Junaid and Wahab defy flat track


Wahab Riaz made an impact on his first day of Test cricket in three years © AFP

Junaid Khan, the Pakistan fast bowler, has said that having Wahab Riaz at the other end provided him with the perfect partner to hurt Sri Lanka. He said that Wahab's fearsome bowling from the other end helped him to counter the dead first-day pitch at the SSC. Wahab took the place of the inexperienced Mohammad Talha, and his express pace provided an added dimension to the attack.

Wahab had a five-for on Test debut at The Oval in 2010 against England but faded away a year later. Since 2011, he has been out of the Test equation but Junaid Khan said a legendary fast bowler like Waqar Younis, who took over as national coach in May, knew exactly how to get the best out of a pacer.

Waqar once said Wahab is "wayward, but indeed a genuine pacer", adding that he was someone Pakistan should have in the team. On the first day at SSC, Wahab made a small but powerful impact to revive his stop-start career. Defying the typically docile nature of the SSC track, Wahab and Junaid posed plenty of problems for Sri Lanka - Wahab finished the day with slightly expensive figures of 3 for 66 while Junaid had 4 for 69.

"The wicket was dead," Junaid said, after the first day's play. "We knew we had to be disciplined on such a track, otherwise we would be punished, but the combination with Wahab proved exceptional as I was depending on swing and he was pushing with pace. He was regularly threatening the batsman, allowing me to get the best out of it from the other end.

"We earlier had a conventional plan to go and block runs on such a pitch but in the second session we shifted to an attacking mode to push the Sri Lanka batsmen to the back foot and the plan worked well. Although we weren't able to get all the 10 wickets, tomorrow morning our first target is to get them as soon as possible, under 300 runs, to remain on top."

Junaid said the presence of Waqar in the dressing room is something that is a big motivator. Wahab's best bowling also came during Waqar's reign as head coach in his previous stint. "He is a legend and the whole world recognises him. In his previous stint as coach he had the same bunch of bowlers and he just started right from where he left [in 2011]. Whatever the case is, he himself has been a fast bowler with vast experience under his belt which is actually the factor benefitting us."

Pakistan had lost the Galle Test despite four evenly matched days of mostly dour cricket on a pitch that had nothing for the bowlers. Junaid insisted the difference between Galle and SSC is the difference of the spirit as Pakistan, being already one down in the series, need to win this game. "We are here to win and that's the only difference, otherwise pitches are almost same. We are positive and when you think positive, things automatically go your way.

"We are satisfied with the day's play and have reduced Sri Lanka [to eight-down] under 300, that will give our batsman ample confidence when they come out to bat. I know our batters didn't do well in the second innings at Galle but these are the same batsmen who had scored 450 runs in the first innings. So I am not worried about our batsmen, they are good and being a bowler we have done our work."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Abdullah on August 15, 2014, 4:35 GMT

    Juniad is a good bowler.but wahab was not ton bad i think If wahab make decipline in his bowling with good line and lenght then he can became mitchell johnson Due to his pace and action

  • Ali Asghar on August 15, 2014, 3:44 GMT

    Pakistan is swing bowler's manufacturer, and it's our strength, but selectors and management has really induced a big downfall in the seam attack by wasting countless great fast bowlers in the country, they gave more chances to Junaid, and he's now a threat even on a flat tracks, there are plenty of great swing bowlers but our selectors started to rely on spinners which is highly unacceptable, we want fast bowlers at least 4 with one of them as All Rounder, no All Rounder in the team is highly damaging for us, and also Get in some good players from Pakistan U19 team like Sami Aslam, and get rid of this poor uncappable test player Khurram, Kamran Ghulam certainly the best lower order batsman in world is must, they have to take bold steps to build the team. It should start from 19 years old players no 27 years old should be handed test cap, because they are already wasted by our management.

  • shahid on August 15, 2014, 2:46 GMT

    They talk too big. Luckily they got Sangakara out today and that keeps Sirilanka under 300. Had Sanga gone on to score a hundred, it could end with SL scoring 500.

  • Aar on August 15, 2014, 0:44 GMT

    Well done junni n wahab provided good support

  • Android on August 14, 2014, 21:11 GMT

    wahab is a bit inconsistent but bowls good in between at good pace. i think that junaid is right. wahab has made difference. after many many games, pakistani pacers have done better and looked way more threatening than spinners. wahab made the difference by testing batsman from his end . well bowled. hope they can get remaining wickets quickly.

  • ashok on August 14, 2014, 21:10 GMT

    Impressed with Junaid's line and pace. He can become one of the greatest if brought up with right attitude...

  • Dummy4 on August 14, 2014, 20:02 GMT

    We make it up as we go along. Waqar knows best etc etc, so what happened in the last match, praying for rain and all we did was bowl wayward,

    Waqar may be a good coach, but its up to the bowlers on the day. They've been playing long enough to know a good ball from bad.

    Its the inconsistency in batting that is the real issue.

  • Muhammad on August 14, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    Its time to say good bye to Rahat Ali now. Talha should be kept out until he improves his pace.

    Irfan, Wahab and Junaid should be the attack for world cup with Gul and Bhatti as backup bowlers.

    Asad Ali and Ehsan Adil should also be kept in sight.

  • Dummy4 on August 14, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    after watching first match i was greatly disappointed with Waqar Yunus as despite getting 450 runs in first innings our bowlers were unable to restrict SiriLanka under 400 but after today's match I got some more confidence in Waqar Yunus. Perhaps choosing Talha in first match was bad decision.

  • Dummy4 on August 14, 2014, 17:28 GMT

    Waqar is definitely the right man to coach Pakistan. He did a fabulous job during his last stint and I hope he can lead the team to glory in World Cup!

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