Sri Lanka, lying 6th in the World Test Championship, go into the second Test against Pakistan tomorrow at the Galle International Stadium it’s chances dented having lost the first Test where Dimuth Karunaratne’s team had to win both tests to keep alive hopes of staying in contention in the race to the top. The loss where Pakistan turned tables in mounting a record 342-run chase notwithstanding the fact Babar Azam’s batsmen did so on a tricky spin friendly wicket was indeed a bitter pill for the Lankans to swallow.
The loss was undermining in so much that the Galle track has over the years favoured Sri Lanka which skipper Karunaratne had in fact ahead of the match emphasised was a plus factor for Sri Lanka. In that vein it is relevant that Sri Lanka which had young Kamindu Mendis in its ranks scoring a brilliant 61 on debut in inflicting an innings defeat on Australia did not make the final eleven against Pakistan.
It is also relevant that Sri Lanka’s fielding flagged against Pakistan and that the progressive infusion of young blood had seen a pick up reflected in bringing down Australia having lost the opening test. Of course, Sri Lanka is back to square one when Karunaratne’s charges square shoulders against Pakistan in the final test strikingly in a similar scenario as was against Australia. Therein, an interesting poser will be whether the Lankans could repeat their herculean performance against Pakistan which brought down the mighty Australians who head the World Test Championship table.
The given backdrop when the two sides once again renew rivalry back on the tricky Galle track that has teased both batsmen and bowlers in reversing ups and downs tomorrow indeed lends an intensity as to which of the two sides will prevail in such a predictable pulsating scenario. Certainly it is a s down South challenging setting that would reward the side that mounts the better cricketing fare in such absorbing ground.