ABU DHABI: Experienced Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik believes youngsters should be given the chance to carry a winning momentum into the second One-day International against Sri Lank here on Monday.
Malik’s swashbuckling 61-ball 81 and a return to form 103 by Babar Azam lifted Pakistan to 292-6 in the first one-day in Dubai on Friday before they kept Sri Lanka to 209-8 for a 83-run win.
The match was Pakistan’s first since winning the top eight-nation Champions Trophy in England in June this year.
Former skipper Malik said youngsters are developing fast.
“It’s important to give youngsters consistent chances and by doing that we develop them and the team does well,” said Malik, who was declared man-of-the-match on Friday.
Malik said Pakistan have a potent bowling attack.
“We have good fast bowlers and the way they took wickets in the middle overs during the Champions trophy it helped us beat top teams and here too they bowled well and got us wickets we needed,” he said.
Fast-rising paceman Hasan Ali — declared player of the Champions trophy with 13 wickets — finished with 3-36 while left-armer Rumman Raees Khan took 3-49 to derail Sri Lanka.
Pakistan will retain the same combination despite opener Ahmed Shehzad failing to score on Friday.
Sri Lankan coach Nic Pothas, meanwhile, is demanding his players snap a losing streak of eight consecutive games.
“We have not been very good in this format for a while now,” said Pothas, a former South African wicket-keeper. “We have to find answers and find them quick.”
Pothas wants his batsmen to deliver.
“From a batting point of view, the currency of your batting is runs. If you don’t keep making them, the shop is going to close down at some point. We have to ask the batters to take some responsibility.
“The top six batters managed 96 between them. One batter got 53 and you are not going to get too many,” said Pothas of Lahiru Thirimanne who scored a half century.
Another clinical all-round display is what Pakistan will be hoping for in order to take the series further away from Sri Lanka’s grasp.
The wicket at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium is generally on the slower side, which means a lot of hard work for both batsmen and bowlers. The last time Pakistan played an ODI at this venue, they had scored in excess of 300 against West Indies and had restricted their opponents to 172 with spinners doing the bulk of the damage.
The remaining matches will be played in Abu Dhabi (Oct 18) and Sharjah (Oct 20 and 23).
The two teams will also play three Twenty20 Internationals, two in Abu Dhabi (October 26 and 27) while the last is scheduled for Lahore on October 29.
But Sri Lankan players had shown reservations over going to Lahore for security fears and a final decision is expected later this week.
Pakistan Cricket Board has been endeavouring to bring international cricket back amidst improved security in the country.
Pakistan have been forced to play its home games in United Arab Emirates since 2009 terrorists’ attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus suspended international cricket in the country.
PAKISTAN: Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Rumman Raees Khan, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan Shinwari, Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Sohail, Fahim Ashraf.
SRI LANKA: Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage, Chamara Kapugedera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando.
Umpires: Shozab Raza (Pakistan) and Richard Kettleborough (England).
TV umpire: Sundaram Ravi (India).
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe).
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2017