Both captains – Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne and Pakistan’s Babar Azam expressed confidence of playing positive cricket to win ahead of tomorrow’s first Test of the World World Test Championship starting at the Galle International Stadium.
Karunaratne and Azam fired the first salvos setting the ball rolling as to the two sides preparedness to coming on top in the 2-off series. The Lankan captain was hopeful that his team could maximise to the fullest the Galle home advantage in the wake of the resounding innings defeat inflicted on Australia in the second Test a fortnight ago. “The Galle home conditions have favoured Sri Lanka in a big way in the past and we expect to maximise it against Pakistan,” voiced Karunaratne. Babar Azam was equally confident that Pakistan was geared to adjust to any situation to play positive cricket to win.
Therein it will be as much a tussle to the better side dictating the course of the game with the bat. Sri Lanka’s massive leverage over the strong Australians whose sizable first innings 364 in the second Test with two centuries tucked into it by Steve Smith and Marcus Labuschagne was undone will be a potential buoyant factor when they take on the Pakistanis. Key to the Lankan batting will be whether it’s batsmen would come good with same run grafting craft that toppled the Australians.
Significantly, it was a victory won by a makeshift side that was minus some of its regular players hit by the Corona pandemic. While the top order clicked bar opener Pathum Nissanka, there were two positive discoveries in young debutant Kamindu Mendis who scored a stroke filled 61 while Ramesh Mendis chipped in with both bat and ball. While he accounted for some key Aussie batsmen, his 98-ball 29 was tall lower order stuff in helping double centurion Dinesh Chandimal to bat out the opposition.
Meanwhile, Pakistan boasts of a star studded batting line up led by its dashing captain Babar Azam who has already made the record books for his run accumulation. He gave a glimpse of his batting prowess when he struck 88 in the drawn warm up game against the SLC XI. Adding the impetus is Azhar Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Agha Salman and Saud Shakeel all who were among the runs in the tour opener.