Will Test Cricket finally treat Pakistan fans?
Pakistan will win the match and series 1-0!
The return of Test Cricket to Pakistan was a bitter one with most part of the match washed away due to rain on the Rawalpindi Test. Only a total of 167 overs were bowled across the five days and 8 wickets in the process. Pakistan fans will hope to have a full match this time around with better promising weather at Karachi. Pakistan will be itching to win this match and series to make their cricketing fans enjoy the return of test cricket after a decade.
Sri Lanka will look to overhaul Pakistan and achieve an away Test series win which has become a rarity of late. Both teams will look to win this match and clinch the series. Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka also have 60 ICC Test Championship points to play for in this match.
Pakistan batsmen Abid Ali and Babar Azam put on a good show with the bat to score their maiden centuries in Pakistan soil. Abid Ali achieved the rare distinction of the first male player to score centuries in his ODI and Test debut matches.
Babar Azam looked a class apart with his productive hundred which came at a healthy strike rate of 80. Skipper Azhar Ali made a small cameo of 36 runs to rebuild after the early wicket of Sham Masood for a duck. Pakistan went for an all-pace attack in the first test. Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi were picked up two wickets each and kept attacking the batsmen with probing lines and lengths.
Mohammed Abbas looked a pale shadow of himself but improved his bowling as the match progressed and the wicket of Dinesh Chandimal will do him a world of good. Yasir Shah may replace Usman Shinwari in this match as the lone frontline spinner and he will provide more depth to the team with his batting.
Babar Azam - Babar Azam has scores of 104, 97 & 102 in the last three Test matches. He is growing in stature as a player with every passing series and has all ingredients to become a future batting star for Pakistan. Look out for his classy easy pleasing shots.
Shaheen Afridi - Shaheen Afridi is the best bowler for Pakistan with his inspired performances over the last 6 months in the Test cricket. He picked two crucial wickets in the last match and broke two dangerous-looking partnerships.
Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali (c), Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shan Masood, Usman Shinwari/Yasir Shah, Abid Ali, Mohammad Abbas , Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah
Yasir Shah, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Azhar Ali
Sri Lanka started the match on a good note with a 90-run opening partnership between Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne (59 runs) and Oshado Fernando (40 runs). Their middle order suffered a mini-collapse from 90/0 to 127/4 in no time. Dananjaya De Silva then played a fighting gritty knock scoring an unbeaten 102 runs. He shared 50+ partnerships with Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, and Dilruwan Perera.
Sri Lankan bowling looked toothless as Pakistan made merry in their batting scoring 252 runs in just 70 overs losing only 2 wickets. Kasun Rajitha is injured and will be not played in this test. LahiruKumaraand Vishwa Fernando will share the new ball to open their bowling. DilruwanPerera and Dananjaya will take care of spin bowling responsibilities. Faster bowler Asitha Fernando may debut in this match.
Dimuth Karunaratne - Karunatne is making up for poor form at the start of the year with good performances in the last three test matches with a century and 2 fifties. His captaincy has changed the fortunes of the Sri Lankan cricket and he has a rare opportunity to achieve an away win over Pakistan in this match.
Lahiru Kumara - Lahiru Kumara will have to lead the pace attack in the absence of Kasun Rajitha and SurangaLakmal. He has played just 18 test matches so far while the other pacer Vishwa Fernando has played just 8 matches while Asitha Fernando is yet to make his international debut.
Dilruwan Perera, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Vishwa Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Asitha Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Oshada Fernando
Niroshan Dickwella, Lasith Embuldeniya, Dilruwan Perera, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Vishwa Fernando, Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Oshada Fernando, Lahiru Kumara
Karachi is expected to have a bright and sunny climate and we may finally see test match in full action in Pakistan for sure.
Karachi is expected to have a good pitch which has some aid for the bowlers both spinners and pacers. Last time these two teams met here both teams scored over 600 runs in their first innings.
Both teams will look to bat first and put a good score on board. Teams batting last will find it tough to bat in the pitch aiding the bowlers due to its used nature.
Pakistan team has a good mix of youth (Abid Ali, Shan Masood, & Haris Sohail) and experience (Babar Azam, Azhar Ali, & Asad Shafiq) in their batting line-up.
Sri Lanka has a strong batting unit with experienced players in form of Mathews, Chandimal, Karunaratne, & Kusal Mendis, as well. Pakistan will pip Sri Lanka by a long distance in the bowling department in terms of quality and experience. We expect the Pakistan team to win this match!
Pakistan will win the match and series 1-0!