Looking for a winning send off, Pakistan cricket coach Dav Whatmore might make some changes ahead of the third and final Test against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan by nine wickets in the second Test to register its biggest ever victory in terms of wickets against the Pakistanis and went 1-0 up in the series.
Sharjah will host the third Test from Thursday and left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman might be drafted in as second specialist slow bowler with Saeed Ajmal after Pakistan’s formula of three fast bowlers didn’t click in the first two Tests.
“Conditions in Sharjah are likely to be different and will probably necessitate a change to the 11,” Whatmore said.
Whatmore, under whom Pakistan lost Test series against Sri Lanka and South Africa while drawing against Zimbabwe and South Africa (away), will leave as coach next week.
Whatmore guided Pakistan to victories in Asia Cup and one-day series in India and South Africa, but could not help Pakistan win a Test series in the last two years.
Weak pace attack
In the absence of injured fast-bowler Mohammad Irfan, Pakistan seamer Rahat Ali has struggled to penetrate the strong Sri Lanka batting lineup, claiming only two wickets after bowling 101.3 overs in the series.
“We always select the best possible 11 in relation to the pitch conditions. Unfortunately we could not play a second spinner and went in with three fast-bowlers.”
Mahela Jayawardene, who missed the Twenty20 and one-day series against Pakistan, made a superb century with three stitches in his left hand to earn man of the match award.
Jayawardene’s club-mate, Kaushal Silva, has scored three half centuries in the series so far while captain Angelo Mathews’ knocks of 91 and unbeaten 157 forced Pakistan to settle for a draw in the first Test.
Pakistan’s top three batsmen – openers Khurram Manzoor and Ahmed Shehzad, and Mohammad Hafeez – all proved vulnerable while negotiating a new ball and their early dismissals proved too costly in the first innings.
“Our team are painfully aware of the need to successfully negotiate the new ball whether it’s the first (innings) or second (innings) … in Dubai when conditions were favorable to pace bowlers we failed to play the moving ball.”
Whatmore said that the wickets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have not responded to the spinners and did not agree that Sri Lankan batsmen have read Ajmal very well.
The off-spinner has taken only five wickets in two Test matches and went wicketless after bowling 49 overs in the second innings in Abu Dhabi.
“It would be incorrect to suggest batsmen are reading Ajmal,. He’ll always need to be managed properly, as all match-winning bowlers do. Ajmal and Rangana Herath found bowling in Abu Dhabi and Dubai unresponsive. It would be incorrect to suggest batsmen are reading Ajmal.”