Second Test vs Pakistan begins at the P. Sara today:
Lankans must go for the kill from ball one
CRICKET: Sri Lanka buoyed after their exciting First Test victory in
Galle will take the field exuding confidence and determined to win the
Second Test against Pakistan beginning at the P. Sara Stadium today and
wrap up the Three-Test series The Pakistanis wounded by their startling
defeat, in a game they could easily have wrapped up, will take the field
roaring and determined to devour the Lankans and avenge their defeat.
The Pakistanis must be still wondering as to where they went wrong in
Galle after dominating the Test for most of the time. Until the fourth
morning they were the better team and looked winners.
But their batsmen failed to ride the pressure when they resumed and
that caused their downfall. Pressure in this Test too could be a telling
factor and the side able to face it better could be the victors.
The wicket at the P. Sara has always been a true one, but the side
winning the toss and batting first would certainly be at an advantage.
Any wicket for that matter tend to crumble and help the spinners in the
closing stages and it should be no different this time.
The side batting first must target a formidable score and endeavour
not to bat a second time. A big score can put pressure on the side
striking second and could cause a collapse.
Pakistan captain Younus Khan is on record saying that his youngsters
failed to withstand the pressure that led to their defeat in Galle. If
that is what he thinks, then it is all the more important that he brings
in the experienced duo of Abdur Razzaq and Danesh Kaneira.Razzaq is a
more than ordinary allrounder. He has proved this on a number of
occasions. True that he threw in his lot with the Indian Cricket League
and was made to unjustly pay for it. But now that he is back, he should
be made use of and not further penalised. Kaneira is an excellent
leg-spin googly bowler. On a fourth or fifth day wicket, he can be a
The Pakistani selectors will do well to give these two experienced
campaigners a go in this vital game. A loss could be unpalatable and
would mean a loss of the series. As for the Lankans, they must not rest
on their laurels but tighten the screws on the Pakistanis from the first
ball and probe for a series clinching win. A win here will do their
cricket a lot of good.It is said that one should not tinker with the
winning combination. And the Lankans will stick to that axiom and go in
with the same line up. At the time of writing, the Sri Lankan selectors
headed by former Sri Lankan allrounder Ashantha de Mel have named the
Off-spinning champion Muttiah Muralitharan and regular wicket-keeper
Prasanna Jayawardena are still nursing injuries and were not considered.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath who was flown in when Muralitharan
was unavailable bowled the Lankans to victory and will hold his place
for the remainder of the series.
The only disappointment somewhat was the inability of mystery spinner
Ajantha Mendis to make his presence felt in Galle. But he need not be
unduly worried and could come good on the Sara wicket that is known to
favour his spin.
It is important that Mahela Jayawardena comes good with the bat.
It was surprising his failures in Galle. But he is too good to keep
failing and the gut feeling is that he is in for a big score.Kumar
Sangakkara had a debut dream game as captain.
He will be looking to carry that fortune into this game too and make
it a memorable one with another win that could give his team the series.
Over then to the P. Sara Stadium and another thrilling game.