COLOMBO: Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene won the toss and elected to bowl first on day one of the second Test against Pakistan at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo on Saturday.
A day before the match, Mahela Jayawardene said his side was not looking to sit on the 1-0 lead. He stayed true to his word at the toss, choosing to bowl first on a flat SSC pitch. The obvious rationale behind the move was to capitalise on whatever juice the famously benign SSC pitch might have acquired from the rain over the last week. He also sought to put the infamously brittle Pakistan batting under early pressure.
While the winning side from Galle remained unchanged, continuing to invest in the young quick Nuwan Pradeep, Pakistan made two changes. One of them, the return of banned captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, was a welcome one. He replaced Mohammad Ayub, who made his debut in Galle. The other change wasn't a desired one: Umar Gul had a troublesome ankle, and was replaced by Aizaz Cheema. There was no room for Mohammad Sami.
Sri Lanka were looking to seal their first series win in the last nine attempts, and Pakistan had the task of avoiding their first series defeat in their last eight. The odds were stacked against the visitors, though: between March 2001 and August 2010, Sri Lanka didn't lose a single home Test after winning the toss. The only statistical silver lining for Pakistan was the two such defeats since 2010 - to India and England, both of which resulted in squandered 1-0 leads.
Sri Lanka 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Tharanga Paranavitana, 3 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 4 Kumar Sangakkara, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Suraj Randiv, 10 Rangana Herath, 11 Nuwan Pradeep.
Pakistan 1 Taufeeq Umar, 2 Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Asad Shafiq, 7 Adnan Akmal (wk), 8 Abdur Rehman, 9 Saeed Ajmal, 10 Aizaz Cheema, 11 Junaid Khan. AGENCIES/ SAMAA