Pakistan will look to square off the Test series when they play Sri Lanka in the second Test at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday. Pakistan had lost the first Test by a narrow margin of 21 runs. Sri Lanka tasted a rare win in Tests and would look to build on the momentum. Pakistan suffered a rare defeat in their home ground and would look to pull things back in the second Test. Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams ahead of Pakistan vs Sri Lanka second Test.
Yasir Shah: The Pakistan spinner took eight wickets in the match. He took five wickets in Sri Lanka second innings to bowl them out for 138. However, batsmen let the team down and Pakistan faltered during the small chase. Once again, Shah will be the key in the second Test. He will be expected to stop the Sri Lankan batting attack and pull things back for Pakistan.
Batting lacking the experience: The retirement of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan has left a big hole in Pakistan batting line-up and it was visible in the fourth innings when their batsmen fell to the guile of Rangana Herath. Senior Pakistan cricketers such as Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and Sarfraz Ahmed will have to take more responsibility to take Pakistan home in the second Test.
Sri Lanka strengths:
Batting: Dinesh Chandimal cracked a brilliant 154* in the first innings of the first Test. His innings lasted 372 balls with 14 fours. Otherwise a big hitter, Chandimal played the anchor and took Sri Lanka to a winning total in the first Test. Then there were other notable contributions from Niroshan Dickwella, FDM Karunaratne taking Sri Lanka to the position of strength. Sri Lanka would hope their batting again comes to the party in the second Test.
Rangana Herath: The 39-year-old Sri Lanka spinner won the first Test with a 11-wicket haul. With age, he is getting better. Pakistan batsmen were clueless against the left-arm bowler. Herath will again be expected to do well in the second Test and bowl Sri Lanka to rare Test series win away from home.
Letting go winning positions and lack of team effort: Sri Lanka had the first Test in grasp before falling like nine pins in the second innings. Herath saved the day for them. But it will not be prudent to bank one or two players to bail the team out every time. Other players need to contribute and make the difference. They also need to seize the winning positions and knock out the oppositions, which they have failed to do so in recent times.
Prediction: Pakistan would come hard at Sri Lanka as they are 0-1 down in the series. Pakistan have always enjoyed considerable success in their home grounds in UAE. They will be expected to come hard at Sri Lanka in the second Test. Sri Lanka would look to build on the momentum and win the series in the second Test. But our vote goes to Pakistan in the second Test.
Possible winner: Pakistan