Cricket

Sri Lanka eye Test series win

2012-06-28 10:03
Mahela Jayawardene (AFP)

Colombo - Sri Lanka are determined to prevent a Pakistan resurgence as they seek their first Test series win in three years when the second match starts in Colombo on Saturday.

The hosts will start as firm favourites at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) after thumping Pakistan by 209 runs with a day to spare in the first Test in Galle to take the lead in the three-match series.

Sri Lanka have not won a Test series since defeating New Zealand 2-0 at home in August 2009 and have struggled to make an impact after world bowling record holder Muttiah Muralitharan quit the five-day format in 2010.

The islanders have lost five series and drawn three since the success against New Zealand - twice allowing the opposition to bounce back after winning the opening encounter.

In 2010, Sri Lanka beat India in the first match in Galle - Muralitharan's final Test appearance - before losing the third game at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo.

Then in March-April this year, the hosts triumphed over England at Galle, only to see Andrew Strauss' men win the second and final Test at the P. Sara Oval and retain their number one ranking.

Veteran skipper Mahela Jayawardene was wary of slipping on the proverbial banana skin again.

"We have to be positive," he said. "There are two more matches to go and we need to put the Galle match behind and keep improving. We need to be a lot more consistent with bowling, batting and fielding.

"A lot of hard work is required going into the next Test. We need to handle the conditions at SSC very well. We need to try and get on top of the opposition and keep the pressure."

The SSC has proved a happy hunting ground for Sri Lanka, where they have not lost a Test since 2004, and have won six of their last 11 matches.

The hosts are likely to play an unchanged side unless seamer Nuwan Pradeep, who took one wicket in Galle, is replaced by either Thisara Perera or Dilhara Fernando.

Fernando was drafted into the squad for the second Test in place of left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara, who missed the Galle match due to a shoulder injury and was subsequently ruled out for the rest of the series.

Pakistan, meanwhile, will welcome back captain Misbah-ul Haq, who was banned for the Galle Test after his team's slow over-rate during the final one-dayer in Colombo on June 18.

The tourists need Misbah's calming influence as skipper and also his presence in the middle-order after they were shot out for 100 and 300 in Galle on a spin-friendly pitch.

Pakistan were let down by poor umpiring at Galle - the Decision Review System (DRS) is not being used in the series - but they have themselves to blame for their first defeat in 10 Tests.

The batting failed spectacularly in the first innings and only veteran Younis Khan (87) and young Asad Shafiq (80) provided any real resistance in the second.

Mohammad Hafeez, who led Pakistan in Misbah's absence, said the second innings performance in Galle gave him confidence the tourists would do well in the remaining two Tests.

"I liked the way the boys fought it out on the last day when the conditions were tough," he said. "These are positive signs for the team. All is not lost yet."

Pakistan will once again bank on their spinners, who claimed 11 of the 14 Sri Lankan wickets to fall to the bowlers at Galle, with prolific off-spinner Saeed Ajmal picking up seven in the match.

Read more on:    mahela jayawardene  |  cricket
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
Vote

What was the No 1 reason for the Proteas losing their ICC World Twenty20 semi-final to India?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.