Need to manage Chameera, Kaushal very carefully - Mathews
Dushmantha Chameera's pace and Tharindu Kaushal's turn was raw, but exciting, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said, after his team completed a seven-wicket victory at the P Sara Oval. Chameera - on debut - and Kaushal - in his second Test - shared nine wickets between them, each playing a central role in Pakistan's lower-order collapses.
Chameera consistently clocked the highest speeds in the match, though Wahab Riaz was out of action for most of the game, and Kaushal impressed with the turn he obtained from a first-day surface, on his way to 5 for 42. Both of them play for the same Colombo club, but while Kaushal was picked after three years of domestic excellence, Chameera made his way to the Sri Lanka side largely on promise.
"Those two are players who can do a lot for Sri Lankan cricket," Mathews said. "We have to manage them very carefully - especially Chameera. I haven't seen a faster spell than he bowled in this Test match. He's very quick. He clocked 149.9 kph which is extraordinary for a Sri Lankan but also for any bowler around the world.
"Tharindu Kaushal turns the ball. I understand that he's raw, but he's got more than 200 wickets in first-class cricket and we have to be positive with him. Test cricket is completely different, but unless we give them opportunities, we won't know what they can do. It wasn't a gamble to select them."
Rangana Herath has only taken the wicket of Azhar Ali (twice) in the series, raising some concerns over his form, but Mathews said it was pleasing to secure victory without a major contribution from Sri Lanka's primary match-winning bowler. Herath ordinarily excels against Pakistan, but has figures of 2 for 218 in the series so far.
"What Rangana Herath usually does was shared around by all four bowlers," Mathews said. "We didn't expect too much from him. At some occasions Rangana does well, and on other occasions other players step up. We're not looking to load anyone up with unfair expectations. Sometimes a bowlers doesn't do huge service to the team, but even if he's not getting wickets, he's preventing batsmen from getting quick runs. He did a lot of that this Test."
Dhammika Prasad, meanwhile, has 10 wickets at 23.60, having helped shape the second Test with his bowling on the fourth day. "Dhammika bowled brilliantly throughout the Test match. He showed maturity throughout the last two years - helping us win that second Test in England, and also here. There are good signs as far as the fast bowlers are concerned.
"We've got a set of good fast bowlers where they can change modes, they can attack or they can stick to line and length. Bowling coach Champaka Ramanayaka has been doing a great job. They've been showing a lot of maturity."
Mathews conceded that Sri Lanka's first-innings batting effort was "short a few runs", but lauded top-scorer Kaushal Silva, who made 80 from 218 balls.
"Kaushal Silva goes at his own pace," Mathews said. "We don't want him to change his game. All the others are batting around him, which is our strategy as a team. We just want him to rotate the strike, and keep doing the things he's been doing for many, many years. He's played a lot of first-class games and has a lot of first-class hundreds. So he knows his game and is very well equipped. Most of the guys want to bat around him."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando