Pakistan look to keep up momentum against Sri Lanka
Abu Dhabi: After flaying Sri Lanka out with their fiery pace in the first One Day International, Pakistan will be looking to carry their momentum into the second day-night encounter at the Shaikh Zayed Cricket Stadium today (Monday). The action starts at 3pm.
Right-arm pacer Hasan Ali (3 for 36) and left-armer Rumman Raees (3 for 49) had flung the Lankans off track in the steep run chase of 292.
The visitors will be wary of the duo and hoping that their frontline batsmen weather the onslaught.
Having suspended opener Danuskha Gunathilaka for the series due to disciplinary issues, skipper Upul Tharanga had opened with Niroshan Dickwella. Tharanga managed a start, but even he looked very susceptible against spin and fell prey to Mohammad Hafeez.
Test captain Dinesh Chandimal’s poor run with the bat in the ODIs has also continued to haunt him and is a major worry for Sri Lanka.
It has become absolutely imperative for Chandimal to click and add stability to the middle order. The forgettable score of four in the last match would have done no good to his confidence. Nevertheless, he can look to draw inspiration from the defiant unbeaten knock of 155 he scored at the same venue in the first Test.
Pakistan, on the other hand, will be pleased with the way Babar Azam came good with a brilliant hundred and will be hoping for a repeat. The presence of Shoaib Malek adds depth to the middle order. He has simply matured with age and with his wife Sania Mirza cheering, looked very much in line for a ton.
His quickfire 81 off 61 deliveries provided Pakistan with the necessary impetus and the team will be looking forward to a similar show from him.
Pakistan’s weak link lies only at the top but they won’t be tampering with their winning combination for now.
Though Fakhar Zaman held things together with Azam and provided the spark to the innings, opener Ahmad Shehzad’s duck has left Pakistan to ponder on a few things. Shehzad will again get a run-in and Pakistan will be hoping he gets going this time round.
Hafeez also looked in a fine nick in the middle order with his 38-ball 32. Skipper Sarfraz Ahmad’s rare failure with the bat for one won’t be much of a worry either for Pakistan. Pacers Ali and Raees, having superseded expectations, will be keen to establish themselves as Pakistan’s leading strike-bowlers.
Sri Lanka: Niroshan Dickwella (wicketkeeper), Upul Tharanga (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage, Chamara Kapugedera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed(wicketkeeper/captain), Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees, Shadab Khan, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan, Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Sohail, Fahim Ashraf.