Pakistan v Sri Lanka: 1st Test- Match Preview
The much-awaited series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka will commence with a Test match at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, on Tuesday, October 18, 2011.
Pakistan, the host nation, will go into the match as favourites on account of their track record against the Lankans and familiar playing conditions.
The Men in Green have previously faced the Asian Lions on 37 occasions and came out winners in 15 of them, while the tourists have won nine times.
The Lankans are going through a rough phase; they haven’t won a game in the last eleven matches and will look to win their first Test match since their ace spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan, retired from Test cricket back in July 2010.
Both teams are determined to give it their best, as they both have a chance of improving their position on International Cricket Council's (ICC) Test rankings.
The Sri Lankans are currently placed at the fifth spot with 103 points, followed by Pakistan, with 94 points. In case Pakistan wins the series they’ll replace Sri Lanka as the fifth ranked team; however, if the Lankans emerge victorious,
they will jump to fourth place, currently held by Australia.
Both teams are going through a rebuilding phase, and are under new management, Geoff Marsh is the new coach for Sri Lanka while the Men in Green are being instructed by former Pakistani cricketer Mohsin Hassan Khan.
Marsh hopes to turn things around for the tourists. The coach said, “We can't look back at the last 11 Test matches. That, for us, is in the past. I've taken on the role and been in Sri Lanka for three weeks and we've just really
been focusing on getting this squad of players ready for this Test.”
Abu Dhabi has always been a paradise for batsmen; however, skippers from both teams will be expecting some assistance for bowlers this time around. Nonetheless, whoever wins the toss will look to bat first.
Pakistan is in good form as compared to their opponents. The Men in Green have won three of their last five fixtures, losing just once. The Lankans on the other hand, lost one and drew four.
Mohammad Hafeez has been Pakistan’s most reliable batsman in the past year or so and the opening batsman would like to continue his good run with the bat. The two veteran batsmen, Younis Khan and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, hold Pakistan’s
batting order together. The duo has the capability of playing long innings once they get their eye in.
On the other hand, Lankan veterans, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, can bring any bowling attack to its knees. Dismissing them early would be Pakistan’s prime objective. However, Rangana Herath can prove to be the surprise
package for the visitors as the Men in Green seem to struggle against quality left-arm spinners.
Pakistan (Probable XI): Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal (wicket-keeper), Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Saeed Ajmal, Aizaz Cheema or Abdur Rehman
Sri Lanka (Probable XI): Tharanga Paranavitana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan (captain), Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene (wicket-keeper), Kosala Kulasekara
or Pradeep Mathew, Rangana Herath, Chanaka Welegedera, Suranga Lakmal