Pallekele, June 8: After losing comprehensively on home soil in the first ODI of this 5-match series, Sri Lanka would want to make amends when they meet Pakistan for the second ODI at Pallekele on Saturday.
The Lankans will pin a lot of hopes on their top order batsmen who failed to do any justice to their reputation in the first game.
Pakistan, though, would be high on confidence and would like to retain the same side that put up a thoroughly professional display on Thursday.
They would want to extend their recent supremacy over the Lankans while the hosts will be desperate to stop them.
From a neutral perspective, one really hopes for a much better contest this time around.
It was a pathetic batting display from the Lankans in the first ODI and it would probably be best for the hosts to put it behind as a bad day and move on. Sri Lanka may consider making some changes to their batting order, especially considering their primary objective would be survival.
Asking Upul Tharanga to open the innings along with Tillakaratne Dilshan would not be a bad move. Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakarra, Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne could make a formidable middle-order with the right mix of experience and youth.
Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera and Nuwan Kulasekara can up the ante towards the end of the innings.
Lasith Malinga will spearhead the Lankan bowling attack comprising of Nuwan Kulasekara and the other two all-rounders Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera. Ranganna Herath could be assisted by Dilshan in the spin department if needed.
They have the variety and the variations necessary to outwit the Pakistani batsmen.
On the other hand, the Pakistani batsmen were hardly tested in the first ODI by the trifling target and yet Younis Khan and opener Azhar Ali failed to dazzle. Azhar would want to perform in this game with Imran Farhat breathing down his neck for his spot in the side.
The other batsmen had a fairly decent outing. The skipper Misbah-ul-Haq scored at an unusually slow strike rate, but given the fact that all Pakistan had to do was to bat out the overs, his thinking approach made complete sense.
The Pakistani speedsters were right on the money in the first ODI and they would love to repeat the same performance again. Aizaz Cheema, who was warming the bench in the first game, will most likely continue to do the same unless the Pakistani camp take an unwise decision to rest one of the three in-form pacers. Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi along with Saeed Ajmal will prove a handful once again. The pacers though would like to cut-down on the number of wides they send down.—Agencies