Cricket

Rain keeps Pakistan, Sri Lanka guessing for second Test

Rival captains hoping that weather will not have a big impact on outcome of contest

Pakistan cricket captain Misbah-ul-Haq (L) and teammate Abdur Rehman run during a practice session at the Dubai Sports city in Dubai on January 6, 2014. Sri Lanka and Pakistan are due to play three Test matches, the second Test match starting on January 8 at the Dubai Sports city cricket stadium.
Image CreditAFP

Dubai: The threat of rain looming large over second Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which is set to commence at Dubai International Cricket Stadium from Wednesday, has both the captains guessing on how the wicket will behave and whether it will play a big role in the outcome of the match.

Replying to a query from Gulf News about what his team’s approach would be in view of the weather on the eve of the match, Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul Haq said: “I hope we could have proper game on all the five days. If you look at the history of this ground and this pitch, I think it really slows down and gives something to the spinners. Our spinners did have success on these pitches before but it’s different weather and we need to see tomorrow how the pitch is.”

Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews said his team would approach the match positively whether it rained or not. “We are still not sure of what the forecast is for the next five days, but we’re going to be positive and play same brand of cricket we played in Abu Dhabi. We are not going to make too many changes; we just want to play as we played in Abu Dhabi.”

Both the teams are counting on the lessons they learned from the first Test to come up with a better performance. Misbah said: “We will improve on the areas we lacked in [during] the first Test. After being 350 for four, we should have taken a lead of 250 or around 300 runs but we just could not do it. Similarly, in the second innings, we could not really penetrate their batting line-up. So we need to set different plans for different players and must take wickets at the right time.

“The fact that we could not get wickets with the new ball is an area we need to improve. We also need to study other players in the Sri Lankan team as we did very well against their main players, especially two of the senior players. Our focus needs to be on others too.”

Mathews, who played a pivotal role in forcing a draw in the first Test, said: “You’ve got to approach this Test in a positive way with lots of courage and determination. It is a must while playing against a team like Pakistan, because they are a very good team and they know the conditions in Dubai very well as it is their home ground.”

Though Mathews resolved to be positive, the fact that Sri Lanka lost to Pakistan in the last Test they played in Dubai, wasn’t far from his mind. “Pakistan have played pretty good cricket in Dubai and we haven’t played our last Test well in Dubai. We have to put that out of our minds and come back and come back really strong.”

Though it is in Pakistan’s favour that they beat Sri Lanka in Dubai last time round, the fact that they have registered only one victory against Sri Lanka in 12 matches does worry Misbah. “If you look at the last two years’ success, we depend more on our spin. As spin gives us most of our victories and the fact that Sri Lankans play our spinners very well and are used to conditions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi makes our job difficult. It’s not really easy to get through their batting line-up. We are just discussing different plans how to go about that and how we can really get 20 wickets against them,” he said.