'World-class' Herath made difference - Grant Flower
Pakistan began the SSC Test strongly but have since ceded the advantage, as Sri Lanka built a lead of 165 with eight wickets in hand. Pakistan batting coach Grant Flower said that the in-form spinner Rangana Herath was what separated the two teams.
"He is a world-class bowler and bowled very well and he was the main difference," Flower said. "That's not surprising obviously as everyone knows that our guys struggled a bit but we hope to get things right in the second innings."
When asked if there was any problem with the technique of the batsman, he once again gave credit to Herath. "I don't think there is any particular aspect for going down in the first innings, actually they came across the world's best bowler [Herath] who troubles the best in the world. He is bowling in his home conditions ... but still we played very well in the first innings. Hopefully we will get a good go in the second innings."
This is Flower's first assignment in charge of Pakistan's batting, a department that has been a stumbling block over the years. Flower, however, was optimistic about finding a formula for improvement. "I think there have always been some problems with the consistency but they are good players, with a lot of talent, and have all the shots.
"But I suppose what is needed is to find out the balance between defence and attack, so as to bat for long periods at the crease knowing their own strengths and weaknesses, which shot to take on at the right time."
Pakistan's troubles were compounded as their spearhead Junaid Khan was sidelined after being hit by a Dhammika Prasad. That brought Pakistan down to three specialist bowlers, and they were far from disrupting the legendary partnership of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Flower remained hopeful about Pakistan's chances in the Test. "If you look at the Test in Sharjah earlier this year, Pakistan had chased a target of 300 runs on day five so they are definitely capable of chasing any target. There is a lot of cricket yet to be played."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson