Tour Summary

The Sri Lankans in Pakistan, 2004-05

Brian Murgatroyd

The major frustration arising from this series, which like the Paktel Cup that preceded it was slotted into the schedule to replace Zimbabwe's Test tour of Pakistan, was that it was only two matches long. Both sides played some outstanding cricket for a win each, and the situation cried out for a decider. The absence of one called into question the value of a two-match series. For Pakistan there was satisfaction at the way they fought back to level the series at Karachi without three of their leading fast bowlers, Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Akhtar and Shabbir Ahmed, who had been sidelined since suffering a knee injury in the lead-up to the Champions Trophy in September. Bob Woolmer, in his first Test series as Pakistan coach, could also point to the continued development of their spinners and the triumphant return to Test cricket for Younis Khan.

There was still the need to find a stable opening pairing, and the failure to ram home the advantage earned on the first morning at Faisalabad was also disturbing. But overall Pakistan could take heart, especially as the win at Karachi came under the sort of intense pressure on the final day that had caused them to fold in several recent one-day matches.

Sri Lanka, too, could derive plenty of positives. As against South Africa two months earlier, they showed they were more than capable of coping in the continued absence of the injured Muttiah Muralitharan. The slow leftarmer Rangana Herath revelled in the role of leading spinner and played a useful role with the bat. Sanath Jayasuriya made two superb hundreds and Thilan Samaraweera scored his first Test century outside Sri Lanka. Both sides ended the series with question-marks over the wicket-keeping position. Moin Khan, 33, was dropped by Pakistan after the First Test and replaced by 22-year-old Kamran Akmal who did a tidy job at Karachi. But there were suggestions that Rashid Latif was ready to make himself available again a year after dropping out of international cricket following a fivematch ICC ban. And, breathing hard on them all, Zulqarnain Haider, Pakistan's Under-19 World Cup-winning wicket-keeper, was attached to the squad throughout the series, though he did not play.

On the Sri Lankan side, Romesh Kaluwitharana announced his retirement from international cricket after the series when he was left out of the training squad ahead of the tour of New Zealand. Kaluwitharana kept moderately in his one match behind the stumps before injuring himself while batting in Karachi, but the fact the selectors had opted for him in Pakistan suggested they were desperate to avoid burdening Kumar Sangakkara with the dual roles of No. 3 batsman and wicket-keeper.

Morning dew and a lack of daylight hours meant only five and a half hours of play could be scheduled per day, which is allowed in Pakistan under a special ICC dispensation.

Match reports for

3rd Match: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Karachi, Oct 6, 2004
Report | Scorecard

4th Match: Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Rawalpindi, Oct 9, 2004
Report | Scorecard

5th Match: Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Rawalpindi, Oct 11, 2004
Report | Scorecard

6th Match: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Lahore, Oct 14, 2004
Report | Scorecard

Final: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Lahore, Oct 16, 2004
Report | Scorecard

1st Test: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Faisalabad, Oct 20-24, 2004
Report | Scorecard

2nd Test: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Karachi, Oct 28-Nov 1, 2004
Report | Scorecard

© John Wisden & Co