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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 first delivery.

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 in disguise.

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 Test.

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