Whitewashed: SriLanka beat Pakistan in second test to complete a whitewash
Pakistan has lost the second test against SriLanka, leading to a series whitewash, first ever in UAE. They have played 9 series in UAE till date and have never lost any of them under Misbah’s captaincy. The last day started with Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed playing positive cricket with only 119 runs to get. This was the last recognized pair and only hope for Pakistan to save the test match. With draw out of contention, it was only going to be either Srilanka or Pakistan winning the match. Perera started with his off spin and Sarfraz after he failed to keep a sweep down. Sarfraz went for 68 with Pakistan still needing 93 runs to win the match. Continuous wickets kept tumbling, and despite a fighting century by Asad Shafiq, Pakistan lost the match by 69 runs. Perera took 5 wickets, his second five wicket hall against the Pakistan.
After a dismal performance in test series against Srilanka, Mickey Arthur and Sarfraz will have a lot to ponder before a tough tour to England. On the other side, Chandimal’s men will be quite happy and encouraged by this turn around after a pathetic whitewash against India in their home yard.
The top three run scorers in the series were all from Srilanka with Dimuth Karunaratne leading the chart. From Pakistan, the only consistent player was debutant Haris Sohail who had a lovely series with bat. Asad Shafiq was the highest run scorer for home team, even he didn’t score consistently and had a poor 19 average barring that century in the final innings.
Opener Shan Masood looked out of sorts scoring just 103 from 4 innings including a half century in first innings of first test. Babar Azam, the shining light for Pakistan in white ball cricket, had a dismal show scoring just 39 from 4 innings including one duck. Middle order looked fragile. Asad was promoted up the order, but that backfired badly for Pakistan. Before the travel to England, Pakistan have to find a solid combination for middle order. For now, Azhar and Haris look like the best combination for Pakistan in middle order.
Tailenders, as usual were poor with bat with none of Yasir, Wahab or Amir showing any resistance. Whereas, srilankan tailenders kept scoring crucial runs throughout the series.
Both Yasir and Herath picked up 16 wickets each to lead the bowling charts. However, Yasir’s average of 25.12 was way more than 17.31 of Rangana Herath. Also, Pakistan didn’t have a second bowler to support Yasir who is a wicket-taker as well as a workhorse for Pakistan. Muhammad Aamir, the leader of pace bowling attack just managed 1 wicket in the series, whereas Abbas looked the most promising with 8 wickets in 2 test matches. On the other hand, Rangana Herath was excellently supported by Dilruwan Perera who picked up 12 wickets at an average of 25.66.
There is a need to find the bite in pace bowling for tour to England where the pitches are more likely support pace bowling instead of spin bowlers.
Overall, Micky Arthur has a lot of soul searching to do. He has to find perfect middle order players along with good pace bowlers for the England tour. Sarfraz had a lovely little honeymoon period in captaining the ODI and T20 sides. During this period, Pakistani cricket team managed to won champions trophy in England but this loss here will the first big challenge for Sarfraz and Arthur.