Jun 3, 2012
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Pakistan landed in Sri Lanka with a new captain and a new coaching set-up. But then some old problems returned to trouble them. In the tour opener, the Pakistan batsmen squandered a good opportunity to take a lead in the two-match series. On Sunday, they can at best aim to square the series.
Pakistan have enough ability and experience in their ranks to bounce back and level the series. For that to happen though, the batsmen will need to play a tighter game and rotate the strike more often - they played out 60 dot balls in their innings and crawled to 23 during the Powerplay overs.
Pakistan's bowlers were steady until the last few overs. However, the decision to play Mohammad Sami in the XI did raise a few questions. Players like Yasir Arafat and Hammad Azam, who are only part of the Twenty20 squad, could have been tested ahead of Sami, who has also been picked for the five-match ODI series.
Sri Lanka didn't play a great game, but were just a notch better - Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews made the difference. Sri Lanka's top-order trio which sporadically fired in the IPL, failed on Friday night. However, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara are as good as any in world cricket and if they can find some form, the talented middle order can put Pakistan under pressure on a slow pitch.
After a thumping win, Sri Lanka chose to stay away from practice on Saturday, while the Pakistan team trained in the evening. The match is expected to draw better crowds on Sunday as Monday is a public holiday in Sri Lanka.
Pakistan Squad (possible): 1 Mohammad Hafeez (capt), 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Umar Akmal, 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Khalid Latif/Haris Sohail, 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Shakeel Ansar (wk), 8 Sohail Tanvir, 9 Mohammad Sami/Hammad Azam/Yasir Arafat, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Saeed Ajmal.
Sri Lanka may field the same XI that won on Friday.
Sri Lanka Squad (possible): 1 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Dinesh Chandimal, 4 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Thisara Perera, 7 Lahiru Thirimanne, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Kaushal Lokuarachchi, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11. Sachithra Senanayake.
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