The Misbah Ul Haq era began with an emphatic win over Sri Lanka in the second ODI of a three-match series but a new dawn in Pakistan cricket cannot be proclaimed yet.
Sri Lanka’s under-strength team looked to be on a different level to Pakistan who played the game with much greater intensity.
Photo Copyright – Steve Haag Hollywoodbets
Third ODI | Wednesday 2 October 2019 | National Stadium, Karachi | 12:00
To Win Match
Sri Lanka 46/10
There were no surprises from the Pakistan top order who all did what has come to be expected of them.
The opening pair of Imam Ul Haq and Fakhar Zaman looks to be a stable and productive partnership that should be allowed to blossom. Fakhar overcame poor form to notch a fifty that suggested he might be getting back to his fluent best.
One man very close to his best was Babar Azam, who is the standout batsman of the Pakistan side. In his first match as vice-captain, he held the top order together and ensured the hosts posted a competitive score.
Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, on the other hand, looks out of place at number five and may find himself under pressure to keep his spot in the team let alone the captaincy.
The surface at the National Stadium in Karachi has been good and the team winning the toss should bat first.
Sri Lanka lost comfortably in the second ODI after rain claimed match one, but there were plenty of positives.
Wanindu Hasaranga bowled well in patches, although Babar got hold of him and he looks like a bowler who could be handy for Sri Lanka as a game-changing leg-spinner.
Shehan Jayasuriya and Dasun Shanaka showed great fight after a top-order collapse left Sri Lanka 28 for five, however, if the Islanders are to compete, they will need their batsmen to contribute.
The application of skipper Lahiru Thirimanne was questionable last time out both with the bat and in the field and so far doesn’t look like a leader.
Sri Lanka cannot match the skill of Pakistan in any area, so to close the gap between the two sides, they will need to outwork their opponents.
Sri Lanka look too far off the pace to come back.
Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets.