Sri Lanka will hope their left-arm spinner Rangana Herath maintains pressure on Pakistan when the second and final Test, a day-night affair with pink ball, starts at Dubai stadium on Friday.
The 39-year-old took 6-43 on the final day to fail Pakistan’s modest 136-run chase in the first Test in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
The narrow 21-run win gives Sri Lanka a unique chance for a series win over Pakistan on their neutral venues of United Arab Emirates (UAE) where they have never lost a series in nine attempts.
They have won five and drawn four series in the UAE ever since the 2009 terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus forced them to play home matches out of Pakistan.
Herath exposed the new batting line up of Pakistan, playing without their batting greats Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq for the first time since they retired in May this year.
Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal described Herath as “a team man and an asset.”
“I have no idea how long he is going to play, but I am sure he will do what he can for the team,” said Chandimal of Herath who completed 400 wickets in his 84th Tests in Abu Dhabi. “He is a team man and an asset.”
The left-arm spinner also reached 100 wickets against Pakistan during the first Test.
“We need to be at our best again and can’t underestimate Pakistan because we know they are a good team,” said Chandimal whose team will rise one spot to replace Pakistan on sixth, even with a 1-0 result.
Chandimal anchored the batting with a polished 155 not out in Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 419, ably filling in for the more experienced Angelo Mathews who didn’t come with the squad due to a calf injury.
Sarfraz Ahmed hopes Pakistan team moves on from the defeat in his first Test as captain.
“We will do our best to be more positive against Herath,” said Ahmed. “We have never lost in UAE so it’s also important to keep that record intact.”
Pakistan will be assess pacer Hasan Ali in the next two days after he had fitness issues while they also hope spearhead Mohammad Amir returns to form with the pink ball after going wicketless in the first Test.
Debutant Haris Sohail provided a positive in the batting after scores of 76 and 34 while Azhar Ali scored 85.
The match will be the sixth day-night Test after the innovation was first adopted by Australia when they took on New Zealand at Adeliade in 2015.
Pakistan beat the West Indies in their first day-night Test at the same venue last year but this will be the first time Sri Lanka feature in a pink ball Test.