Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has asked for better contributions from his batsmen in the second Test at the P Sara Stadium in Colombo as his team look to record their first ever home series win against Pakistan. Sri Lanka staged a sensational turnaround on the fourth day in Galle to take a 1-0 lead in the series but the team failed to cross 300 in either innings. Sangakkara was quite aware of his team's failings despite the victory.
"A first innings total is always vital and our job is to go out there and bat as long as we possibly can," Sangakkara said. "We've got a batting line-up of seven that has scored runs against almost every opposition in world cricket. We are just asking everyone to chip in.
"In modern cricket the impact of the tail and how long they keep batting for and how many runs they score is very important. All eleven players contributing to a total is good and big enough for us to put pressure on the opposition."
Sangakkara, however, warned of a backlash from Pakistan, who were in firm control before the fourth day in Galle.
"Any victory gives you a psychological advantage, slightly more confidence than if it was a draw or a loss. But at the end of the day, it's a new Test match and the Pakistanis will come out fighting," Sangakkara said. "We have to be good to absorb the pressure as best as we can."
Interestingly, Pakistan has had the upper hand in contests between the two countries played in Sri Lanka, with the home team winning only two out of 13 Tests. The current series gives Sri Lanka the chance to put that record straight, but in order to do that they need to put sufficient runs on the board to pressurise the opposition.
Their batting in Galle was nowhere close to what they are capable of. Sri Lanka were rattled by the left-arm pace of teenager Mohammad Aamer, who took seven wickets on debut. Only opener Tharanga Paranavitana played with any conviction, top scoring in both innings. The pitch at the P Sara Stadium is considered by many as the best in the country to bat on and Sri Lanka have a chance to make amends.
Sri Lanka have the habit of retaining the winning combination but in this instance, Sangakkara hinted at the option of playing an extra seamer.
"If you are keeping options open it's always to do with the wicket and when you have a winning side. The bowlers we have are doing a great job for us so the persuasion is to probably keep the same side. We'll have a look at the deck in the morning and then come to a final decision," Sangakkara said. "Whichever way we go we are still going to back the bowlers who are suited for the track to win us a game. It looks a very good track but it's all speculation until you really play on it."
Despite the fact that specialist wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene was back at practice, having recovered from a finger injury, Sri Lanka are persisting with the stop gap wicketkeeper Tillakaratne Dilshan.
"Prasanna is back and training with us. We'll just watch him for a few more days. Dilshan will keep tomorrow," Sangakkara said. "We had a chat on whether I could take the gloves or we could share it. There are various options. If there is a case of fatigue at anytime and Dilshan is not feeling comfortable, I could always step in and take the gloves. We have all the options open but he did a very good job in the first Test."