We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on the recent performances, overall impact, and credit points.
Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Pitch Report
In the recently concluded series between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Galle International Stadium, we saw the spinners ruling the roost, especially in the first Test. However, in the second game, both batters and spinners had something on offer. Run-scoring didn’t appear challenging as a few batters comfortably piled on the agony.
Thunderstorms are forecast for this game. However, it is unlikely to cause any serious interruption.
Probable Sri Lanka & Pakistan XIs
Probable XI for Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Kamindu Mendis/Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Ramesh Mendis, Jeffrey Vandersay, Prabath Jayasuriya, Kasun Rajitha
Playing XI for Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fawad Alam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali/Mohammad Nawaz, Yasir Shah, Nauman Ali, Shaheen Afridi
Power Players for the Match
From the word go, it never appeared that Prabhat Jayasuriya was making his international debut. He spun a web around the Australian batters and finished the second match with 12 wickets earlier this week, eventually winning the Player of the Match award. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he is asked to operate with the new ball.
If Pakistan don’t dismiss Dimuth Karunaratne early, he could end up batting for long periods. After failing in the first Test against Australia, he responded with a gritty 86 in the first innings of the second game. Moreover, when Pakistan last toured Sri Lanka in 2015, he added 318 runs, including the highest score of 140 in 3 Tests.
The onus of holding the Pakistan innings together will be on Babar Azam. He has amassed 489 runs in his last 8 innings. Furthermore, when he last played against Sri Lanka in 2019, he slammed 2 centuries and a fifty in 2 Tests.
Smart Picks for the Match
Before the Bangladesh tour in 2022, Dinesh Chandimal’s numbers didn’t make great reading. However, he has turned it around in fine fashion by scoring 442 runs in the last 4 Tests, including an unbeaten double-hundred in the last Test against Australia.
When Yasir Shah bowled at Galle in 2015, he finished with a 9 wicket-haul for the game, including figures of 7 for 76 in the second innings. It was his inspired spell that set the game up for the visitors.
Ramesh Mendis is known for his ability to bowl long spells. At Galle, he has taken 27 wickets in 5 Tests. His ability to turn the ball and extract bounce at regular intervals makes it tricky for the batters.
Imam-ul-Haq can be a dogged character who likes to put a price on his wicket. He has added 370 runs in his last 3 Tests, including the highest score of 157 against Australia.
Azhar Ali may not be the most attractive batter going around, but he has the tendency to grind out an opposition, especially on the subcontinental wickets. He has 6 hundreds and 5 fifties to his credit against Sri Lanka in 16 Tests.
Abdullah Shafique might be young in international cricket, but he already averages 78 in Tests. His last 6 innings in the format read 27, 81, 96, 13, 136*, and 44.
On the wicketkeeping front, both Mohammad Rizwan and Niroshan Dickwella are capable of getting quick runs for their respective sides in times of need. That said, Rizwan might hold the edge when it comes to collecting the ball cleanly with the gloves.
Sri Lanka vs Pakistan, 1st Test Match Preview
Unlike Australia, Pakistan are far more comfortable negotiating quality spin bowling. In fact, they also possess a formidable spin attack. Both sides have locked horns 55 times in the format, out of which Pakistan have won 20 and Sri Lanka 16. However, when Pakistan last played at Galle in 2015, they beat Sri Lanka by 10 wickets. A cracker of a game awaits us all.
Time: 16 July, 10.00 AM IST