Pakistan v Sri Lanka: Second Test Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

We take a look at the second Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka set to be contested under lights at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium from Friday 6 October.

Arguably the most unpredictable Test rivalry will continue on Friday, when the Sub-Continent's big guns - other than India - clash in the Gulf again.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka, indeed, will contest the sixth ever day-night Test match, the first involving the latter - and the second at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Pakistan v Sri Lanka | 6 October - 10 October | Dubai International Cricket Stadium | 13:30

To Win Match
Pakistan 8/10 | Draw 3/1 | Sri Lanka 11/4

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Ultimately their own worst enemy in the series opener in Abu Dhabi, Pakistan have plenty of lessons to heed. Adapting to life after Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan will be a particularly taxing challenge - this was entirely evident earlier this week, when a familiar second-innings collapse lacked even one batsman to stem the tide of wickets.

That said, Haris Sohail displayed enough signs to instill some hope for the future. The Abu Dhabi debutant dug in for 76 and 34 - and was pretty much the only one to succeed against the prolific Rangana Herath. He demands middle-order support, though - Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam must deliver.

Yasir Shah bowled 84 of Pakistan's 220-plus overs in the first Test - an alarming ratio that needs astute management in the second. The leg-spinner is a high-impact player, but amid fitness concerns, must not be overburdened. All-rounder Sohail's increasing responsibility is, therefore, two-fold - the left-armer must bowl more overs.

Pakistan will have fond memories of their one and only day-night Test prior to this week's clash. They beat the West Indies in favourable conditions, at the same venue, a bit more than a year ago. A superb triple-century from Azhar Ali and a telling contribution from Shah was key to that win - and, one surmises, will be among similar requirements this time.

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka managed to do what no other country managed before them - beat Pakistan in Abu Dhabi - earlier this week. They have a quick turnaround to manage ahead of the series decider, but will be entirely buoyed by success which has been far and few between of late. They'll likely welcome the return of Angelo Mathews, too. He has all but recovered from a calf injury.

Pakistan have not beaten Sri Lanka in consecutive Tests since 2000. Sri Lanka have done so three times - and will demand a fourth. Their last visit for a Test in Dubai was in 2014 - and resulted in victory. This bodes well, but they'll also be aware that Misbah and Younis' retirements since are effectively cancelled out by the absence of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.

So another battle of the new-era batsmen awaits - and Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal, in particular, are primed for the challenge. Rangana Herath, meanwhile, has become the 14th player - and the first left-arm slow bowler -  to take 400 Test wickets. His southpaw spin, skidding away from the right-handers under lights in Dubai, will ensure a tough task for Pakistan.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka have met on 52 occasions in the longest format of the international game. The former has 19 wins and the latter 15, with 18 draws. The Dubai International Cricket Stadium has only seen two stalemates in 10 Tests, so another is unlikely. Sri Lanka, however, are well position to tip the scales at this venue - currently balanced one-all - in their favour.

Verdict: Pakistan 8/10
Pakistan need substantially more from their batsman and significant improvement from their seamers. If they get this together, sustainably over five days, they'll square the series.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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