Pakistan, Sri Lanka face off | Sports |

Pakistan, Sri Lanka face off

Pakistan and Sri Lanka, two Asian cricketing powerhouses, have a long history of enthralling Test matches. The rivalry between these two teams has produced some memorable moments and intense contests over the years.

From fierce bowling duels to exceptional batting displays, the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Test series has always been a treat for cricket fans.

Both teams are in a rebuilding phase right now, with young players of the two teams trying to take their sides to the top.

Currently, Pakistan cricket team is on a Sri Lanka tour for two Test series. The first Test starts today at the Galle International Cricket Stadium. The second Test will be played at the Singhalese Sports Club from July 24.

The two Test matches will be part of the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 cycle for the sides.

In the ongoing series, under Babar Azam, Pakistan have a good chance to improve their rating in the ICC Test Championship. Currently Pakistan stand sixth.

During the last tour to Sri Lanka in July 2002, Pakistan played two Tests, both in Galle.

The Green-shirts started the Test series positively by winning the first Test by 4 wickets. But in the second Test, Sri Lanka shocked Pakistan by 246 runs and ended the Test series 1-1.

In the first Test, the Greenshirts successfully chased down the massive target of 342. It was Pakistan’s second-highest successful chase in Test cricket. It was one of their best ever wins in Test cricket after being 85-7 in their first innings.

In the second Test, Pakistani fans expected fighting from the batsmen while chasing the highest ever target of 508, but Sri Lankan spinners Prabath Jayasuriya and Ramesh Mendis shattered their dreams, sharing nine wickets.

Former South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel has been appointed the new bowling coach and the Sri Lanka tour is his first assignment.

Since the retirement of Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Tilikaratne Dilshan, Muttiah Muralitharan, and Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankans have not looked as good as they were in the past.

But last year the young Sri Lankan team beat Australia in the second Test at Galle by an innings and 39 runs and levelled the series at 1-1. They also won the five-match ODI series against Australia.

Lack of Test matches is a real problem for Pakistani players. They don’t have the temperament to stay on the crease. Pakistan have only played one Test series since Christmas — an exhilarating three-match series against Australia that saw Pakistan play out two exciting draws before losing the final match.

The Green-shirts should not expect Sri Lanka to prepare pacer-friendly pitches because Pakistan have quality fast bowlers in their squad.

After missing the entire home season because of an injury, Pakistan ace fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi made a comeback for the Sri Lanka tour. He is just one wicket away from completing his Test wickets century. So far he has 99 wickets from 25 Tests at an average of 24.86.

Two uncapped Test players – Mohammad Huraira and all-rounder Aamir Jamal — have also received call-ups, based on their domestic form.

Along with skipper Babar Azam, Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Huraira have experience of playing in Sri Lankan conditions. Two wicketkeepers, Mohammad Rizwan and Sarfaraz Ahmed, also provide support in the middle order.

In presence of Shaheen Afridi, Hassan Ali and Naseem Shah look good for Sri Lankan surfaces. The spin section consists of Abrar Ahmed, Nauman Ali, Mohammad Nawaz and Salman Agha. Despite their little experience they have the capability to create problems for the Sri Lankan batters.

Sri Lanka will be led by Dimuth Karunaratne, who must be confident after a great run at the ICC World Cup Qualifiers.

The spin bowling attack will be led by Ramesh Mendis and Prabath Jayasuriya. Praveen Jayawickrama will be in backup, while Asitha Fernando, Vishwa Fernando, and Kasun Rajitha will form the pace attack.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka have faced each other in 57 Tests. Pakistan have won 21 whereas Sri Lanka have come out victorious on 17 occasions.

Former Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara scored most 2911 runs in 23 matches against Pakistan, averaging 74.64 with 10 centuries and 12 fifties.

For Pakistan, Younis Khan is the highest run-getter with 2286 runs at an average of 51.95, including 8 hundreds and six half centuries.

Left arm orthodox spinner Rangana Herath claimed 106 wickets in 21 Tests with the average of 28.07. Saeed Ajmal took 66 wickets against Sri Lanka, averaging 32.87.

Pakistan’s 765-6 in Karachi in February 2009 is the highest innings total between the two countries. Sri Lanka scored 644-7 in the same Test.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 71 runs in Kandy in August 1994. Pakistan were bundled out for 90 runs in Colombo in July 2009.

Misbah-ul-Haq led Pakistan in 13 Tests against Sri Lanka while Angleo Mathews played eight matches as skipper.


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