There should be no letting up by the Lankans
To pocket Pakistan series should be their aim:
There should be no letting up when the Sri Lankans take the field
against Pakistan in the Second of Three Tests beginning at the
picturesque P. Sara Stadium tomorrow.
Now that the Lankans have their noses in front after their
unbelievable victory in the First Test in Galle, they must remain that
way and chalk up another victory and pocket the series.
Winning is what sport is all about. The Lankans were not in the
picture until the morning of the fourth day. Up to that time they had
allowed the Pakistanis to dominate and it was when defeat was staring
them in the face and pride at stake, that they awoke from their slumber,
gained the ascendancy and won a thriller.
In this Test the Lankans must be focused and go for the kill from the
They must not wait for things to happen, but must make it happen.
They have it in them to chalk up another victory. What they must do is
to believe in themselves and then the pieces will fall right.
According to chairman of selectors Asantha de Mel there will be no
tinkering with the team that won the First Test.
The selectors have named the same eleven and unless the unforeseen
happens, it will be same men who will play.
Muttiah Muralitheran and Prasanna Jayawardena have still not
sufficiently recovered from their injuries to warrant selection.
They are still under treatment and will need a lot more time to
recover. Even without them, the Lankans showed that they have the men
who can deliver.
Now that newcomers have been given the breaks, it is up to them to
keep performing and cement their places in the team.
Batting first should be the idea of the captain winning the toss.
Surprisingly Younus Khan the Pakistani captain won the toss and for
no apparent reason asked the Lankans to bat first which was a blessing
Apparently Khan would have been fooled into asking the Lankans in,
because of the heavy rain that fell preceding the Test. He was hoping
that there would be a lot of moisture on the wicket and that it would
help his fastmen.
It helped to an extent. But once the game progressed, it was apparent
that the surface was batting friendly. Khan surely would have been
rueing his decision to send the Lankans in. However it must be stated
that the Pakistanis were in the picture, until the final morning, where
poor batting saw them conceding defeat when victory looked certain.
However small a victory target, it can put pressure on the batsmen
batting second on a wearing pitch. The Pakistani batsmen showed that
they lacked the temperament when chasing and succumbed.
The Sri Lankan batsmen. especially openers Malinda Warnapura and
Tharanga Paranavitharne must make it their business to give their side a
sound opening for the rest of the batsmen to build on. Paranavitharne
was good, but he must learn to build his innings and make big runs.
Batting stalwarts Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena and
Tillakaratne Dilshan failed to make big scores. They must endeavour to
come good because it is paramount that they do so. As for the bowling,
Angelo Matthews, Thilana Thusara Mirando and Nuwan Kulasekera must make
better use of the new ball. They must not bend their backs looking for
extra pace, but concentrate on line and length and movement.
Left arm spinner Rangan Herath who was the toast of the Lankan
victory in Galle, will once again put his wiles on show and will always
be a trier. Mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis did not find the Galle wicket
to his liking.
He is known to like the P. Sara wicket and should prove troublesome
to the Pakistani batsmen.
As for the Pakistanis they would have gone back to the drawing
boards, watched TV replays and studied where they went wrong and take
the field this time round determined to avenge their defeat.
The seniors in the team, must not waste the openings given them by
the youngsters. Rauf, Ajmal and Aamer were outstanding and it was a pity
that their efforts were not made use of.
The Pakistanis are certain to make a change or two for this vital