Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pakistan V Sri Lanka | T20 International | Abu Dhabi | 25/11/11 | Fantasy League Scores

An Attempt To Digest Why Hafeez Is So Economical?

He bowls accurately and economically. He is a nagging operator. The control of line and length is formidable which is a key strength to his success. Generally the kink and pivot in his action enables him to pick up on any trigger movements from the batsmen and therefore can adjust his delivery accordingly. Hafeez bowls according to his field and gets the angles and positioning of where the fielders are placed inside the ring spot on, they are always on the 1 and on their toes. Hafeez tends to dart and drift the ball into the right handers with the odd one going straighter and skidding through. One every now and then turns back into the pads from just shorter of a length. These subtle variations are utilised very cunningly. Plus there is that element of doubt in the batsmen's minds perhaps in a bit of embarrassment that they don't want to get out to him considering he is not considered a front line option and the 2nd or 3rd or even 4th spin option at times. Basically he knows his role and responsibilities and bowls well within himself. A canny and underrated off spinner

Friday, November 25, 2011

Round Up

-          Greens are the first side to reach the milestone of 30 international wins in T20 internationals. They do so in 49 internationals with a W/L ratio of 1.67.
-          They have a 5-2 record against the Lankans in T20s, winning the last 3.
-          They have comprehensively defeated the visitors in all formats on this tour which is what the visitors could not achieve when they played hosts in 2009 just shortly before the Champions Trophy event which was held in South Africa.
-          Sri Lanka came into this encounter on the back of 5 back to back wins against New Zealand, Australia, England, Australia and Australia.
-          Shoaib Malik has gone the most 20/20 innings without registering a duck.
-          The Greens are now placed in 5th position of the ICC one day rankings, convincingly above New Zealand and West Indies and above England too who they will be locking horns with in the first quarter of next year with 2 each in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in a 4 encounter series.
-          Unlike England and Australia, the greens managed to successfully defeat the WC finalists by a 4-1 margin as opposed to 3-2 during the course of the year.
-          A 3-0 clean sweep in the 3 match one day series against Bangladesh which will be contested in the first 6 days of December will provide the greens with 24 wins in ODIs in contrast to just 7 defeats for the calendar year which is the highest quantity they have ever had over taking 1999, 2002 and 1996.
-          It’s the first time since 2003 that the greens have won a 5 match series by a 4-1 margin excluding Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
-          Junaid Khan and Abdul Razzaq have been declared injured and ruled out of the tour of Bangladesh.
-          Younis Khan has over taken Inzamam in terms of the most catches in one day internationals by a Pakistani.
-          Mohammad Hafeez has reached the milestone of 1000 ODI runs for the calendar year and is the only individual who has not missed any of the 28 internationals the greens have contested since the New Zealand tour earlier in the year.
-          Misbah-ul-Haq has only lost 2 of the 25 times he has captained with 18 victories and 5 draws. The determined 37 year old, has been undefeated in all 11 series he has captained.
-          Umar Gul has reached 50 international wickets for 2011.
-          Shahid Afridi is the 2nd leading ODI wicket taker in 2011 with 40 scalps in 24 outings.
-          Hafeez is also on the brink of reaching the 50 club overall.
-         Misbah needs under 140 more to reach 1000 ODI runs for the calendar year. With 9 50s in 23 innings this year including knocks of 43*, 37 in a low scoring win, 35 in a crisis and 29* as well as a 32 and 25. After 11 ODIs or 9 innings as captain he has scored 3 50s. The captain in also on the brink of taking 300 catches through his FC, List A and T20 exploits.
-          Saeed Ajmal has 6 encounters in Bangladesh to reach 100 international wickets for Pakistan in the year and is clearly leading the list of the highest wicket takers in 2011.
-          Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi have both been awarded the MOM 4 times in one day internationals this year.
-          All 5 times the toss winner had decided to put the opposition in the dirt when he has won the toss in the one day series.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Interview Answers

About Me
I am a student currently. I am a very enthusiastic and passionate cricket follower. I like to watch, play, read, write, recall past memories and gather statistical information about this great compelling sport. Away from cricket, I am interested in writing in general and also like to keep fit and busy through cycling, racket sports etc. I play league cricket in the summer and have played at high levels from a young age.
  A word on Pakistan Cricket....  
 I feel cricketers are Pakistan's leading ambassadors and a great way to unite the people, gain headline positivity in an age where Pakistan is in a state of political and social turmoil and also further develop the reputation and image of the country, it can be seen as an area of pride and identification. Therefore, I feel the performances and organisation of the board is of utmost significance. I am pleased to see the Pakistan team showing consistency, professionalism and stability nowadays and feel they have found one heck of a captain with strong man management credentials tactical awareness, calming influence/stabilising presence, utmost professionalism for a sporting gentlemen, extraordinarily consistent individual contributions, highly respectful reputation and advanced cricketing intellect to get the best out of his troops and key leadership qualities, they are definitely moving in the right direction.  I won't say this lightly, but I feel he is the sort of captain you get once in a generation. 2011 has been a tremendous year. The results are there for one and all to see.
Warne of Murali
I am going to be biased here and go with a leg spinner being one myself. Warne was a charismatic individual on the field. Warne was one of my all time favourites. His control and ability to extract sharp turn was formidable.  Some of the deliveries he produced throughout his career were just beyond imagination like the Mike Gatting ball in the early 1990s or the delivery to Strauss in the 2005 Edgbaston test match which both turned a considerable distance and made some fine top order batsmen look foolish. Murali was a terrific ambassador for Sri Lankan cricket and statistically is the world’s leading international wicket taker, but there will always be queries regarding the legitimacy of his action unfortunately. Murali was a humble individual both on and off the field and I am aware he has done a lot of good work for charities. Both were legendary performers, but personally Warne appeals to me more.

Younis or Yousuf

Younis. I feel he was a better overall package as a fielder, tactician, out and out team man, more hard working and was a more respectable role model for youngsters. Yousuf wins on style and classiness and has been a great servant, but he’s been involved in way too many controversies over the years. I am a big fan of YKs commitment, work ethic, fighting spirit and mental toughness. His catching is just outstanding and he has a smart cricketing brain when it comes to planning and identifying batsmen’s minds and how to manage proceedings. Purely on natural ability Yousuf is more gifted of the two. I have fond memories of YK lifting Pak’s first major title for 17 years on June 21st 2009 at the Mecca of the great game. Also, YK is one of 3 batsmen from his country who have produced a triple century which he achieved in his first test as full time captain. I was disappointed with his hot headedness in taking captaincy because on the field he was the real deal. One has to sympathise for the manner in which his team conspired and revolted against him after that Champions Trophy 2009 in South Africa.

Wasim or Waqar 
Wasim will be one of the first names I’d be putting on an all time world eleven. Wasim’s arguably the greatest Pak cricketer of all time, although the greatest captain was Imran without a shadow of doubt. Waqar was a demon too with that low round arm sling action and prodigious swing, he could produce bananas. Generally upcoming Pak right handed fast bowlers tend to prefer WY whereas the left armers idolise Wasim. Wasim knocked over Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis in that MCG 1992 WC final in successive deliveries with two beauties angling in sharply from around the wicket, they were unforgettable. In fact he was the MOM in the final. Between them they formed a destructive partnership and are in the top 2 leading ODI pace wicket takers of all time. As a commentator I prefer Waqar. I think he did a tremendous job as coach in challenging circumstances after the ill fated Australian tour where many players were either fined or banned.

ODIs or T20s
Tests. Pinnacle of the sport. The ultimate examination technically, mentally and physically. It separates the men from the boys. Enough said.  The amount of ODI and T20s being contested needs to be closely monitored before player burn outs can occur. There is almost a major ICC tournament every year now.

Worst Controversy Involving Pakistan From The Many That Have Been
Bob Woolmer’s death after the preliminary round elimination in the 07 Caribbean WC comes to mind. It was a real low point and the fact that the team were being considered suspects for his death at one point just made the whole episode extremely saddening.  There were many highs during his tenure, memorably beating England, India and Sri Lanka in 3 successive test series in the 05/06 season.

Future Of KP
Hopefully the site can continue to expand and develop and be recognised to many.

Message To Readers
Thanks for visiting, without them we wouldn’t be where we are now and do make sure you keep tuning in to KP for all the latest.

Afridi Lights Up Sharjah

Sharjah hosted its first one day international featuring Pakistan since 2003 on Sunday evening for a day night fixture in the historical venue which was hosting its 201st one day international, more than any other venue on the global scale. It was the 4th of 5 one day internationals in the series with the visitors looking to keep the series alive and square the series going into a decider whereas Misbah’s Pakistan were looking to seal the series. The crowd turned up in their numbers and witnessed a nail biter and memorable individual performance courtesy of a stunning all round exhibition from the talismanic and charismatic Shahid Afridi who after scoring a vital 70 odd to help the men in green reach a respectable total of 200 after being 6 down without triple figures on the board and still with over half of the over’s to play out, followed it up and claimed his 6th 5 for in one day internationals and 3rd of the year to spin his side to victory from an improbable position when Sri Lanka were coasting and cruising to a clinical win. It was truly the Shahid Afridi show and the magic of the enigmatic character that produced an inspirational display under lights.

Pakistan won the toss and Misbah Ul Haq elected to bat first just like he did on Friday without any hesitation. Imran Farhat and Mohammad Hafeez got through the first 6 untroubled before Farhat was strangled down the leg side from Fernando’s first delivery to be caught behind. It was indeed an excellent take behind from Kumar. This brought Younis Khan to the crease who steadied the ship with Mohammad Hafeez who just like on Friday was batting cautiously and sedately worked his way up to 25. Both were looking at ease when it came to milking the spinners between overs 10-15. The bowling power play brought Hafeez’s downfall as he was caught at deep square leg attempting to sweep. Misbah Ul Haq walked out to bat at number 4 and got off the mark immediately through some innovative improvisation by pulling out his reverse sweep to claim a boundary. Younis Khan fell in the very next over to a Fernando slower delivery. The experienced campaigner was completely deceived by the well disguised change of pace. Malik walked out at 3 down for his first outing of the tour, but struggled to get ball off the square and was very cautious in his approach and eventually fell to a googly when he was pawned in front. Umar Akmal followed in the same fashion. Shahid Afridi started his account with a beautifully struck off drive against Lasith Malinga while Misbah ul Haq was looking to hold an end up as he so often does  as Pakistan looked to rebuild, however this was short lived as Misbah Ul Haq was again run out in a terrible mix up with the former Pakistan captain. Safraz accompanied Afridi who was playing a measured and calculated knock by taking the singles, being sensible in his stroke play and unleashing the big shot every here and there. Safraz was trapped in front for the 2nd time in the series to Prasana’s leg spin. Saeed Ajmal joined his spin partner and managed to successfully stick around for a resilient 20 before being trapped for pace in front. The off spinner clearly has been working on and improved his batting. Shahid Afridi in the meantime had reached his half century much to the delight of the Sharjah faithful and was dropped by Fernando at one point, but soon after perished in the latter stages of the innings as he was caught behind from a full and wide delivery. Umar Gul managed to take the innings to the 50th over, but then receive the death rattle courtesy of a Malinga Yorker which cannoned into those stumps. At the interval Pakistan concluded on exactly 200 giving Sri Lanka a RPO of 4.05 to stay in the series.

Pakistan got two relatively early breakthroughs as Aizaz Cheema found the edge of both Sri Lankan openers which were caught by Younis Khan and Safraz Ahmed in first slip and keeper position respectively. Misbah-ul-Haq kept him on even though he was expensive and taking some tap, especially in his first two overs. Mohammad Hafeez came on once the first 10 were up and dismissed the promising young talent Dinesh Chandimal who was looking to paddle sweep. The youngster has failed to live up to expectations in this series. It was a lack of experience and technique which brought his downfall. Nonetheless, the veterans got together in MJ and KS and accumulated a partnership of 100 as Sri Lanka looked totally untroubled and well on track before the batting power play and the sheer presence of Shahid Afridi turned the match on its head. Afridi bowled the left hander through the gate. Ajmal got rid of the vice skipper with a doosra and Safraz did the rest. Afridi then produced a quick off break which crushed into the pads and the number 7 was plumb for all money. Afridi then produced 2/2 by getting rid of MJ in the off side ring as he drove loosely and then snatched on to a return catch the very next delivery. Ajmal got rid of Malinga around the wicket with an off break which was pushed through and came back a fraction. Finally Pereera decided to have a go with only Fernando left on the non strikers end and was taken in the deep by Umar Akmal to give the multi talented Shahid Afridi his 5th as Pakistan sealed the win and subsequently the series too. Unsurprisingly the instigator, Shahid Afridi picked up his 4th MOM of the year and 3 of them have come against these men in blue.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Which 2 associates will qualify for the 2012 ICC 20/20 WC?

Which 2 associates will qualify for the 2012 ICC 20/20 WC? The development of associates is crucial in enhancing the sport in other parts of the globe which is key to promoting the sport and making it more of a global spectacle with more countries participating and competing at the top level as well as getting new people into it and help them develop their understanding on the rules for example. So far each ICC World T20 has only had 12 teams participating with 2 associates getting an opportunity to qualify. The Sri Lankan hosted tournament which kicks off on 18th September 2012 will be no different with an initial 3 team preliminary stage followed up by super eights and then the business end of the tournament with semi finals and a final on Sunday 7th October in Colombo.

Associates Which Have Qualified In The Past

2007=Kenya and Scotland
2009=Netherlands and Ireland
2010=Afghanistan and Ireland

The qualification will be taking place in the first quarter of 2012 in the UAE with Scotland, Ireland, Netherlands, Afghanistan, Kenya and Canada participating along with 10 other regional qualifiers with the best 2 getting a chance to get on that plane to Sri Lanka.

Prediction: Ireland and Canada

One of the successful associates will be joining Australia and West Indies in Group B whereas the other one will be joining England and India in Group A. Sri Lanka, South Africa and Zimbabwe have already been decided to make up group C whereas Pakistan, New Zealand and Bangladesh have been decided to make up the final group and it wouldn’t be wrong to say they have been paired in the group of death.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How useful it is to have an opening batsmen who we can get ten reliable overs out of on a regular basis?

Mohammad Hafeez this year has bowled 9 or 10 overs in a one dayer 11 times and the highest the off spinner has gone for is just 43 in his full allocation:

1-26 (10) vs. Australia on 19/03/11

2-16 (10) vs. West Indies on 23/03/11

1-34 (10) vs. India on 30/03/11

1-36 (10) vs. West Indies on 23/04/11

2-38 (10) vs. West Indies on 25/04/11

2-31 (9) vs. West Indies on 28/4/11

1-42 (10) vs. Ireland on 30/05/11

1-38 (10) vs. Zimbabwe on 08/09/11

0-43 (10) vs. Zimbabwe on 11/09/11

1-37 (9) vs. Zimbabwe on 14/09/11

2-24 (10) vs. Sri Lanka on 11/11/11

Friday, November 11, 2011

Stats For Pak V SL ODIs 2011

*Pakistan has won 8 out of their last 10 one day internationals whereas Sri Lanka has won 4 out of their last 10 one day internationals; however they have been contesting against stronger opponents.

*Pakistan has a 71/46 record against Sri Lanka in one day internationals.

*Sri Lanka beat Pakistan 3-2 in 2009 at home and 2-1 away in the same year. They have also gone further than the hosts in the last 3 Asia Cups as well as the 2 World Cups. They also won a triangular and quadrangular series which featured Pakistan in 2004 and 2008.

*Pakistan has won 17 out of 24 one day internationals this year which is the 2nd highest by mode after Australia who are currently on 18. Even if you take out the wins registered against lesser sides the record is 9-6. Sri Lanka on the other hand is 13 out of 23.

*Sri Lanka has won 7 of their last 11 against the hosts here.

*Pakistan beat Sri Lanka in the world cup by 5 runs in Colombo during the 2nd encounter of the tournament on Saturday February 26th this year in a closely fought mouth watering contest which was right up there as one of the best in the 49 match tournament.

*Both these teams were in the top 3 in the world cup in terms of winning % and had the leading run getter and leading run scorer who were both captains during the grand competition, they are both featuring in this series.

*6 of the 12 leading run scorers in ODIs this year are featuring in this series.

*Younis Khan averages a staggering 117 in ODIs under Misbah in contrast to the below par overall career average he has which is in the low 30s. He comes into this series with 3 consecutive ODI 50s under his belt.

*Saeed Ajmal is the leading international wicket taker in 2011 across tests, ODIs and Twenty20s.

*Razzaq is back after Mohali for the first time. In between that time Razzaq has:

1) Won Leicestershire the county Twenty20 cup.

2) Become the 2nd Pakistani to feature in the CL T20 after Yasir Arafat.

3) Won the inaugural Titans indoor event as part of a 6 a side team.

4) Captained Pakistan to the Hong Kong sixes title 2011.

Pakistan’s last 6 ODI series

Lost 3-2 vs. England (away) September 2010 Captain: Afridi

Lost 3-2 vs. South Africa (UAE) November 2010 Captain: Afridi

Won 3-2 vs. New Zealand (away) February 2011 Captain: Afridi | vice captain formally: Misbah

Won 3-2 vs. West Indies (away) April 2011 Captain: Afridi | vice captain formally: Misbah

Won 2-0 vs. Ireland (away) May 2011 Captain: Misbah

Won 3-0 vs. (away) Zimbabwe Captain: Misbah

Pakistan’s last 3 ODI series in the UAE

Lost 3-2 vs. South Africa
Lost 3-2 vs. Australia
Won 3-0 vs. West Indies

Sri Lanka’s last 4 ODI series

Lost 3-2 vs. Australia
Lost 3-2 vs. England
Won 2-0 vs. West Indies
Won 2-1 vs. Australia

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Player Ratings For Test Series

Taufeeq: 5/10. After scoring a marathon double ton in Abu Dhabi, he failed in his next 5 innings and averaged only 18. Why he was not standing in the slip cordon remains a mystery as he is considered to be a reliable fielder and arguably the best in the team. Taufeeq is now flying back and will need to get himself back in shape for the tests in Bangladesh next month. Taufeeq is placed in the top 8 run getters for tests in 2011 and has a chance to add to this with another Asian rivalry before concluding what has been a hectic year.

Hafeez: 5/10. His catching was abysmal, but the catch in the opening over of the 3rd innings to send Dilshan on his way was a welcome relief. Hafeez claimed 2 scalps with the ball in his hand and unsurprisingly they were left hander’s which he has a prolific record against and tends to be somewhat of a demon against them with well over 3 quarters of his test scalps coming against them. The likes of Cook, Strauss, Morgan, Broad, Tamim Iqbal and other lefties will all need to watch out against this underrated crafty off spinner in the forthcoming test series which proceed. His batting was fluent in the 1st innings of the first two tests of the series where he engaged in a stand of over 50 for the first wicket to follow it up by an unbeaten innings to get the desired result in the 4th innings of the same encounter. Nonetheless, he was dismissed cheaply to some carelessness both times in Sharjah where the batting all rounder had a below par outing.

Azhar Ali: 9/10. 11 50s and 1 century in 31 innings with 4 not outs. Azhar sits comfortably averaging in the 40s after the series and 11th in all time from his country. Just like last year against the South Africans, the solid and dependable top order rock topped or appeared 2nd in the averages for the hosts here in the UAE for his maiden series against a sub continental side. With a noteworthy first innings score at each of the venues the tour was one to fondly remember for this KRL gutsy, determined, resilient and temperamentally amazing youngster who is undeniably a consistent and run hungry performer who also sits in the top 8 scorers at an average of 47 in the 5 day arena for the calendar year with 2 to follow in due course. Surely he will climb up that list further which is extremely encouraging for a batsman only in his 1st FULL year at this level. The impressive one down batter reminds many of Shoaib Mohammad, a young Rahul Dravid and even the ex England captain in Michael Atherton who Shane Warne feels every team should have and can tremendously benefit from having. All these grafters have the capabilities and strengths of crease occupation, churning out the runs, wearing out the attack, earning the bad ball subsequently, closing an end and making every effort possible to remain disciplined and trust their defences to make it excessively difficult for the opposition to dislodge them as well as providing that sense of re-assurance, responsibility and stability with not necessarily the greatest talent in the world for others to feed off, but a clear, controlled and repetitive game plan. Azhar certainly ticks these boxes. UAE is turning out to be somewhat of a fortress for him and one shouldn’t be surprised to see him frustrating the Poms in January with that heavily resistible application.

Younis Khan: 8.5/10. Most catches during the tour as well as a century and half century. After 8 tests since resuming his career after that ill fated England tour where he was side lined for reasons best known to a buffoon, his country have been undefeated.

Misbah-ul-Haq: 7/10. A 3rd test series win as captain in 5 series without a series defeat. Mr Solid was outstanding in Sharjah with his watertight defensive technique to survive for over 340 deliveries in the match to earn a well fought draw and consequently seal the series. He led from the front and played a captain’s knock to deny Sri Lanka the win when a substantial effort was required from the leader of the ship. After 10 tests as skipper the calm man averages a formidable 81. Waqar Younis regarded him as having one of the tightest defences in the world when it comes to dead batting the ball quickly on to the turf with the full straight face of the blade or forward prodding with a keen stride to tackle a length or trap any revs imparted on the ball with sheer watchfulness. Tony Greig, a respected and experienced observed in the commentary box, said he was a simply a gem of a captain. Misbah was also just 1 behind Younis Khan for being the leading catcher during the series. With 10 50s or more in 15 innings as captain (excluding single figure not out scores), Misbah has broken in to the top 5 averages in tests from his country of all time. Will he retire with an average of above 50? It’s certainly a possibility as far as I’m concerned.

Asad Shafiq: 6/10. One half century, one unbeaten 20 odd, one unbeaten 50 ball knock to secure the draw in the fading light and one score in the teens before nicking behind. Shafiq held on to some key catches namely Kumar Sangakkara throughout the tour. Surely he has done enough to be retained at the number 6 position against Bangladesh and presumably England as well.

Adnan Akmal: 7/10. A 40 and a cheap dismissal in the two outings he received. However, sound in the keeping department. He has not been retained for the LOI leg of the tour and will be flying back.

Abdur Rehman: 5/10. Unimpressive with the bat in both tests, but exceedingly economical with the ball including picking up some key wickets. The bowling average was approximately 50, but his presence enabled Ajmal to attack more in the shorter bursts. On the whole it was a passable tour for the left arm spinner which during the process he claimed 400 FC wickets.

Umar Gul: 8/10. 14 in the series in the 20s, but disappointing with the bat. 4 times during the series he struck with the new ball in the opening over. 27 scalps in 6 tests for the spearhead of the pace attack. The delivery he bowled to Parnavitana in the opening over of the Sharjah test was one real Jaffa.

Saeed Ajmal: 8.5/10. 2nd MOTS for the year in tests for the leading wicket taker in tests this year as well as the leading wicket taker in international cricket. The wizardry finger spinner was the leading wicket taker in the series and thankfully it was in a winning cause for one of the quickest spinners in the world who reached 50 test victims. Sri Lanka have some fine pickers of spinners in their team which makes the achievement even more special for a bowler who has thrived under Misbah’s leadership, a captain who pushed for his inclusion in the national team and has captained him in the domestic arena for over a decade.

Junaid Khan: 8/10. 12 in the series in the 20s. Should have had more had it not been for the diabolical fielding display in Abu Dhabi. The left armer bowled energetically from around the wicket throughout the series and troubled the Sri Lankans many times. The 21 year old stepped up and made a name for him on batting friendly surfaces. He was rewarded for his discipline and ability to extract movement against the odds. His praises were sung throughout the course of the test series by fellow players and commentators and deservedly so.

Pakistan V Sri Lanka Test Series Fantasy League Final Stand

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Review Of 30 Predictions and Wants After Test Series......

1) Not losing the test series. Not losing a test.

We won our 3rd test series by a 1-0 score line during the year and also Misbah won his 7th series as captain across all formats of the game in 9 series as captain to go along with 2 drawn series with only 1 defeat in 10 tests as captain after all the dramas the team had gone through. He has only been defeated once in 19 internationals as captain. He had led Pakistan to 3 test series wins this year which they have certainly not done ever since 2006 and they hadn’t won a single test series in 2007,2008,2009,2010 or won one outside the sub continent between 2004-2010, but this year he has not only won 3, but won them all outside the sub continent. It was Pakistan’s first major test series win against a top ranked side since Asif’s magic in 2006 (excluding New Zealand and West Indies).

Pakistan remains on 6th position in the rankings, but narrowly closes the gap between Australia and Sri Lanka who are in 4th and 5th position respectively. They gain 4 points from the result whereas Sri Lanka loses 5. Sri Lanka have had a 1-0 defeat in their last 3 test series this year against England, Australia and now Pakistan. After 14 tests after Murali they are yet to win with 4 defeats in that space of time and 10 draws.

2) No controversies.

None at all.

3) 3/6 LOI wins and therefore winning either the T20 or ODI leg of the tour.

Commences on Friday. Expectations might be even higher considering the test series triumph.

5/6 wins. Unlike England and Australia, Pakistan successfully managed to defeat the Sri Lankans 4-1 in the 5 match one day series as well as win all 3 formats and that too fairly comprehensively with more or less the same strengh Sri Lankan side.

4) Posting totals above 330 every time in the 1st innings minimum. Innings duration should be at least 125 overs.

511/6 | 403 | 340

5) 3 centuries from Pak preferably from Azhar/Asad.

~Double ton to Taufeeq.
~Maiden ton to Azhar.
~YK’s first of 2011.

6) Maintaining the Hafeez, Taufeeq, Azhar, YK, Misbah, Shafiq combination throughout the 3 tests successfully.

Completely achieved.

7) The tail WAGGING. Seeing totals of around 100+ for the last 4 wickets consistently.

8) Playing 2 specialist spinners in all 3 tests with the idea continuing to work as it has been doing. 25 wickets between them. Economy of below 3 combined.

Rehman was left out of the series opener. 23 wickets combined nonetheless. Both bowled accurately and economically.

9) Adnan – maiden test 50 and tidy before behind the stumps.

Got into the 40s. Only had 2 innings. 11 dismissals.

10) Seeing out around 4/5 full sessions in the series without losing a wicket. We will be on track shall this happen. Batsmen putting a price on their wicket and batting for long periods of time. Getting stuck in and digging in deep which they are fully capable with the current mould of players.

3 full sessions without losing a wicket.

11) 2500 BF between numbers 3 and 6 in the 3 tests. Azhar Ali achieving a 750 BF as his speciality is his patience and grinding out the bowling. The middle order demonstrating their solidity, application and determination to spend extended periods of time at the wicket and work over the Sri Lankans with their discipline, mindset, attitude and mental toughness. Showing plenty of grit, stamina, concentration and resilience which are the leading strengths of this gutsy middle order. Working their socks off to frustrate and tire out to their opponents with their commanding structures and temperament. Giving them some tough days out in the field even if this means it won’t be the most eventful in terms of scoring. Basically, winning the sessions gradually by playing the hard fought waiting games as opposed to trying to play the enforcer role. That’s when they have been playing their best. I would like to see more of that here.

1966 BF between 3-6, but they never had a proper 2nd innings due to their surprising dominance so unless they bat for eternity in the 1st innings, it was never really possible. They achieved well over 2500 if you include the balls faced by the opener Taufeeq Umar as well though. Azhar Ali faced the 2nd most with 722 behind Taufeeq Umar but that was inflated with his 496 ball innings in the 1st test.

12) Several hundred partnerships/stands. More than the Lankans in this aspect.

Pakistan had 5.

Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar in Abu Dhabi.

Taufeeq Umar and Azhar Ali in Dubai.

Younis Khan and Azhar Ali in Dubai.

Azhar Ali and Misbah-ul-Haq in Dubai.

Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan in Sharjah.

Sri Lanka had 3, only had 1 in the 1st innings whereas Pakistan had all their 5 in the 1st innings.

Sanga and T in Dubai.

Sanga and Prasana in Dubai.

Sanga and Dilshan in Sharjah.

13) Rehman racking up 40 maidens and keeping the Sri Lankans under control with his perseverance and nagging lengths.

27 maidens, but only played the two tests.

14) 3 Pak batsmen scoring 300 odd in this series from the top 6. This will be another reflection that we are on track.

It was a collective team effort. Limited opportunities to bat in the 2nd innings. Look at comment #16. 4 of the top 5 run getters in the series were Pakistani.

15) Herath having a SR in the 90+ region. Making him work and toil. Wearing him out. Reduce his impact and seeing him out. He is the dangerman and we will do well to keep him quiet from making inroads in the context of the match. Blocking him out firmly and watchfully to an extent where his wickets will barely have an impact in changing the complexion of the match. Making him bowl the marathon spells.

Average: 32. SR in the 100s. In contrast Pakistan’s premier spinner had a SR of 68 and averaged in the 20s.

16) Captain averaging above 50 in the series. All the top 6 with averages of above 35. Hafeez is a concern, but could compensate for it if he chips in with the wickets and breaking partnerships.

Hafeez: 50

Taufeeq: 54

Azhar Ali: 66

Younis Khan: 55

Misbah-ul-Haq: 61

Asad Shafiq: 54

17) Preventing Dilshan from averaging above 35 with bat and below 40 with the ball. Keeping their skipper on the quiet side of proceedings which will affect the team’s body language and emotions. Making life tough for the opposite number and going hard at him.

22 with the bat, 69 with the ball.

18) Preventing Jaya+Sanga putting on 150 together should the 2 bat together whereas Misbah and YK do as and when they bat together. These are the influential partnerships to break for both teams. Experienced and statistically high achieving batsmen who tend to bat well in pairs with their understanding of each other.

Jaya+Sanga were with each other 3 times in the series and failed to put on 100 together whereas Misbah and YK were only together once in the series and piled on over 100 for the 4th wicket stand.

19) Taking more wickets combined than their pacers by a margin of around 5 at least. There is little doubt we have a stronger pace battery despite the losses of AA combo for obvious reasons.

28 for the hosts.

Umar Gul - 14
Junaid Khan - 12
Aizaz Cheema - 2

Sri Lanka had only 16.

Difference of 12 and Sri Lanka went into all 3 tests with 3 seamers whereas Pakistan only went in with 2 pacers in the final two tests. Yet Pakistan were clearly the superior bowling attack who dominated the series and were much more effective than the Sri Lankans. Junaid Khan was playing only his 2nd test series as well. Gul has 27 scalps from 6 tests this year.

20) Crossing 450 mark at least once during the series. Batting for the best part of 2 days when we bat first.


21) 50+ opening combo from openers at least twice during the test series and doing better than the Lankans in this aspect.

Pakistan did it twice. Sri Lanka did not do it even once.

22) 50 from batsmen 8-11 at least once i.e. Wahab, Rehman.

Wahab was not played in any.

Rehman was dismissed cheaply in his 2 innings.

Ajmal averaged 32 with the bat nevertheless and was even promoted up the order as the night-watchman.

23) Hafeez showing he is not a minnow basher throughout the course of the tour. Proving his credentials against his Asian rivals. Adding a few more to his 8 MOM tally this year.

Averaged approximately 50 in the test series.

24) Cleaning up their last 4 for approximately 60/70 consistently max during the tests.


25) Coming to terms with the new playing conditions in ODIs, especially the use of BPP between overs 15-40. Get a head start over other nations.

26) Posting an ODI total of 280+ during the series.

27) Average score of above 40 in BPP at the expense of 2 wickets most.

28) Malinga countering. Keeping him under 8 wickets during the 5 match ODI series. Using the depth in the crease, trapping the late swing, picking the slower ball, seeing him off in his initial spells not allowing him to settle or get his confidence high. Avoidance of a 2/2 which he is able to do frequently. Wahab to shatter the furniture more times than him during the series!

Only 7 for him

29) Winning an ODI by 100 runs or 5 wickets.

1st ODI

30) 45+ in first 6 during the 20/20 for a maximum of 1 down.

Tests Prediction

Most runs Pak: Azhar/Misbah

Azhar was 2nd with Taufeeq’s 236 always putting him in the lead although that was his only 50+ score in the series; Misbah on the other hand only had 3 completed innings due to Pakistan’s dominance.

Most runs Sri Lanka: Sanga/Jaya

King Sanga topped the series charts with over 500 accumulated. The 2nd highest by a Sri Lankan batsman in a single test series.

Most wickets: No idea but probably Ajmal

Correct by a considerable distance

MOTS: A Pak 3-6 batsmen

Ajmal got his 2nd MOTS of the year, but it was shared with King Sanga.


Most runs Pak: YK

Most runs Sri Lanka: Thranga

Most wickets Pak: Wahab/Cheema

Umar Gul IMO. Wahab is not in the ODI squad for reasons relating to further spot fixing investigations after the trio were found guilty and therefore has not been excluded on merit.

Most wickets Sri Lanka: Malinga

MOTS: Mohammad Hafeez/Thranga

Afridi it was


MOM: Dilshan/Gul/Umar Akmal/Ajmal/Malinga

Aizaz Cheema 4-0-30-4 in his 2nd t20 at international level

Most catches throughout tour by Pak player: YK/Misbah

It was these two

YK topped the charts in the test series followed up by Misbah.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Pakistan Cricket Query Answered

From Dean at Cricket Betting Blog. : I would be interested to hear from Pakistan fans who know more than me about why a lot of that Sydney team (apart from the obvious ones) aren't currently playing.


Out of the players that played at the SCG debacle in January 2010:

Mohammad Yousuf has been discarded. He was banned indefinitely after the tour of Australia, but returned to the side mid way through the 2010 England tour for the final two test matches and one day series which followed. He was then injured for the series against South Africa in the UAE and as Misbah, Younis were performing so well along with youngsters like Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq he was not selected for the tour of New Zealand where all these batsmen continued their splendid form with the bat to give us our first test series win outside sub continental territory in over 7 years. It’s just a case that the team has been performing admirably since he has been sidelined and they want to have a balance of experience and youth in the side with Younis and Misbah already there as the seniors. Yousuf is not even a centrally contracted player anymore and is not playing first class cricket nowadays either. Plus, he’s a poor fielder and age is catching up whereas YK and Misbah are both outstanding in this department by Pakistani standards.

Kaneria: Poor performance and has his problems with getting clearance from the integrity committee after the spot fixing fiasco with Essex.

Butt, Asif, Amir = obvious reasons. (Amir did not play at the SCG due to injury)

Farhat=Poor form.In the test squad. Is in and out of the ODI starting line up.

Faisal Iqbal=Poor form.

Kamran Akmal=Initially he was excluded because he didn’t have clearance from the PCB integrity committee, but he was cleared in time for the WC, but after a disappointing run with gloves and bat he was dropped soon after. His brother has been the replacement in tests after Zulqarnain fled away and done an impressive job.

Mohammad Sami: Just was too wayward and inconsistent with his line and length. His performances have been poor after repeated recalls into the side, especially for a bowler of his talent. Purely he has been excluded on merit. He last played against South Africa last November and struggled for control and rhythm. He hasn’t been since in the international camp since with other pacers competing for a spot.

Umar Akmal
= Form. 2 50s in his last 22 test innings. He doesn’t get preference at number 6 ahead of Shafiq, well for this series he hasn’t, but in the past he has. It’s a bit like the Bopara/Morgan debate here. Nonetheless very much part of LOI first choice line up.

Basically after losing a test series against Sri Lanka 2-0, being whitewashed down under 3-0 and losing to England 3-1 in 2009-10, we needed drastic changes in our team. Plus the disciplinary issues for some meant we were forced too.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 2 Review | Stumps At Sharjah | Pak V SL 3rd Test

Not a great day with the exception of the middle session. Sri Lanka is well on top, especially with those 2 breakthroughs before stumps. They have 5 front line bowlers and 2 specialist spinners in their line up. They will be backing themselves to level the series here. They have fielded an attacking composition in this crucial decider. As far as Pakistan is concerned, the batsmen need to play out the whole day tomorrow without getting bowled out. Misbah has been a bit on the quitter side with the bat in this series (2 40s) and they’ll need him to deliver with a noteworthy score of around a 70 odd at least and provide some calmness, direction and stability to the innings by occupying the crease and valuing his wicket as well as frustrating Sri Lanka with his disciplined and level headed approach.

Nonetheless, the inform Azhar Ali is unbeaten overnight, a man who has never scored a 50 in a vain cause and never failed to reach a 50+ score after 8 innings in the United Arab Emirates. They’ll want to be around 300/7 tomorrow at stumps. A draw looks like the best bet at this stage from the perspective of the hosts. The only way I see the hosts coming out on top is if Sri Lanka bat woefully in their 3rd innings perhaps because of a lack of time to push for the win and carelessly lose their wickets during the process. I don’t know whether how the events which unfolded in court had an effect on the team and their mindset and on field performance, but I won’t be surprised despite all what they say. Saeed Ajmal now is the leading test wicket taker this year and has 15 in the series. King Sanga’s form has been utterly remarkable and he is a front line candidate for the player of the series award. Sanath Jayasuria is back in the commentary box after being absent in the 2nd test due to Hong Kong Sixes participation. Pakistan unexpectedly named an unchanged line up whereas Sri Lanka made a few changes for a must win game. Dilshan returned back to open up and made his first meaningful score of the series.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has named a 16 man squad for the 5 match one day and 1 off T20 which commences a week today. Shahid Afridi makes a return to the team along with Abdul Razzaq. Safraz Ahmed will be the wicket keeper. Wahab Riaz has been excluded probably in light of the news that the ICC is widening their investigation after the players were found guilty for conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments earlier in the week.

PP Fantasy League Update 03/11/11 | Pak V SL Tests

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Take On Court Proceedings

Seriously? Only 4 years behind bars combined for the trio which committed the biggest sporting crime on English soil. They can consider themselves relatively lucky for receiving a lighter sentence. The funny thing is there were fans and followers who were continuously in denial and coming up with conspiracy theories from the British to destroy Pakistan Cricket, despite the overwhelming evidence which was crystal clear from day 1 and more than ever on Saturday February 5th when they received hefty bans by the ICC after the hearing in Doha. Last September Rameez Raja gave a telephonic interview in which he labelled Salman Butt as a “liar” and even he was getting serious flack from some of the emotional side of the fan base. They were pretty much guilty as sin from day 1 and it was only a matter of time before they would face the consequences. It’s beyond belief, that some people just care about having a superior bowling attack rather than keeping the integrity and fairness of the game in check which is the fundamental issue for us to be able to value what we are watching.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The 10 Best Wickets From Pakistan In The 2 Tests Against Sri Lanka

JK to Prasana: After taking his first wicket of the series a few ball before with a gem from around the wicket to find the edge which was taken in the slip cordon, JK had his tail up and produced a close to unplayable delivery to the incoming batsmen which was fast, full, straight and directed right in the block hole. He was completely castled whereas JK was ecstatic. The striker was unable to react and dig it out. It was a surprise delivery and it totally mesmerised him.

JK to Dilshan: This was significant because of the catches which were put down earlier in the day; nonetheless Junaid kept his cool and kept running in and giving it his all. The pressure was mounting with a string of dot balls from disciplined bowling and with the attacking player that Dilshan is he just wants a piece of the action and something will have to give sooner than later. Eventually Dilshan attempted an expansive drive, but the ball nipped back and found the way through from around the wicket. Junaid was fired up. Eventually he was rewarded.

Azhar Ali to King Sanga: Misbah was gasping for a wicket after 2 sessions where they toiled unsuccessfully, but Azhar, a part timer struck on the brink of tea to break the shackles and bring the hosts back in contention after proceedings were drifting towards a draw. It was a beautifully pitched leg spinner which beat Sanga in his forward prod. There was little doubt from the umpire and the long vigil from Sanga finally came to an end courtesy of this bowling change. It was Azhar’s maiden test scalp. Incidentally, Azhar started his List A career with back to back 5 fors as a specialist spinner.

Gul to MJ: MJ started his 3rd knock of the series with a 2 through mid wicket and mid on, a leave on bounce outside the off, a streaky 4 where he pushed with soft hands and beat the gully region and then nicked off with some tentative footwork to a delivery shaping away in the corridor of uncertainty. Gul had the better of the big fish to claim his 3rd of the morning as Captain Misbah caught him in first slip.

JK to Matthews: Matthews was looking to walk down the track in order to negate the swing and movement and distract the bowler, but he fished at one on the brink of lunch with one which was shorter of a length and had some extra bounce which he was trying to steer away. Junaid kept coming at him and never allowed him to settle and eventually he got his man to give Adnan his first dismissal of the test as Sri Lanka lost their 5th.

Ajmal to Para:
Para had really got going to keep Sri Lanka interested after conceding a deficit of 164. He kept his head down and made the bowlers work and it took a flighted delivery from Ajmal to produce the edge and see the back of him. There was a hint of turn as he drew him forward and found the edge which YK held in slip. Ajmal picked up his first of the innings whereas Sri Lanka lost their 5th and more importantly their set batsmen.

Ajmal to Prasad:
Ajmal changed his angle to around the wicket and bowled one which angled across the number 8 right hander with some skid, zip, bounce and revs to find the edge which Adnan caught behind. The right hander was forced to playing from the line of attack as the ball could easily have turned back or gone straight on to trap him LBW. This was the start of the 1st of 11 to follow as the unconventional off spinner got into the action.

Ajmal to MJ: MJ had just struck a beautiful on drive with the spin a few deliveries before, but was looking to follow it up soon after with another scoring stroke, but this time through the off side, but the ball was a tad fuller than expected and turned back to expose his stumps and Ajmal was on his bike to celebrating. This was his only one of the innings, but a special moment.

Gul to Para: On the very first ball after fielding for 170 overs Para was given the long walk back to the pavilion with a swinging delivery to trap the left handed opener in front.

Ajmal to Walegradra: Continuous dot ball were piling up the pressure and the amount of faith the number 10 had in the number 11 was up for debate, but Walegradra was desperately searching for a 50 and Ajmal denied him. The number 10 was standing on 48*as the tail wagged, but just could not get the ball away when the last wicket stand was happening and decided to dance down the track, but was typically beaten by an Ajmal doosra which had dip, bite, turn, bounce and skid to result in a stumping and the conclusion of Sri Lanka’s innings as they were bowled out for a below par 239.

Sharjah Time!

Sharjah is hosting its first test match in 9 years tomorrow for the 3rd and final encounter of this test series with Dilshan’s troops looking to square proceedings after being largely outplayed in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Sri Lanka have gone 13 tests without tasting victory, meanwhile for Pakistan they have been undefeated for 5 consecutive test series regardless of the outcome in Sharjah, however a 2-0 series win will push them above their opponents on the test rankings and they will enter the top 5 tier. With a 2 match series against Bangladesh scheduled in December as well Pakistan has been undefeated for 6 consecutive test series if results go as they should. 6 test series without a loss is the 2nd highest undefeated series streak by a Pakistan team after Imran Khan in the 80s and it’s not broken yet. What a job Misbah -ul-Haq and company have done and who could have thought this would be possible after that spot fixing fiasco? The future was looking excessively bleak, but reality has well and truly proved differently. The record in Sharjah results wise have been 2 wins and 2 losses for the hosts.


The hosts have posted 340 or more 8 out of the last 13 times in an innings. Under their previous captain they were demolished for fewer than 100 on 3 occasions during a test series. The average first innings total under the current captain is over 350.

Another stat regarding the batting is they have only lost 13 wickets per test on average in their last 9 tests.

Pakistan have posted above 400 in all of their last 3 tests.

Pakistan have had 6 individual centuries in 9 tests under Misbah's leadership. Previously they did NOT have a single one in the 9 tests before he took over under the leadership of Butt, Afridi and Yousuf combined.

Misbah’s first boundary in both tests has been from a six against a spinner.

The Sri Lankan replacement wicket keeper in the 2nd test was not only making his test debut, but was playing his 100th FC match.

Pakistan have taken 40 wickets in this series out of all which were possible whereas the opponents have only taken 18 out of a potential 40. The hosts have only been bowled out once whereas the visitors have been bowled out 4 times.

Saeed Ajmal needs 3 wickets to be in the lead for the leading wicket taker at test level in 2011 with 3 tests left for him maximum.

Saeed Ajmal has taken three 5 wicket hauls this year and been awarded 2 MOMs in his last 4 tests.

The test in Sharjah will also be the 40th between the countries and the 10th of Misbah as captain.

Abdur Rehman needed 6 wickets in this test to be the joint leading Pakistan bowler who is the quickest to 50 test wickets along with Mohammad Asif, Shabbir Ahmed and Waqar Younis. He stands a chance of being the quickest spinner to the feat.

Azhar Ali has 4 half centuries, 1 century and 2 unbeaten stays at the crease in his last 8 test innings. He currently is on the brink of breaking into Pakistan’s top 10 test averages.

Azhar Ali is yet to fail to reach a 50 when being dismissed in the UAE after 8 innings with 4 half centuries, 1 ton and 3 unbeaten stays. He averages 88 in this part of the world.


Ensuring safety and playing out time will probably be key in Sharjah. We cannot expect the wicket to be as successful as the curator in Dubai produced. A win will be a bonus, but priority has to be on taking the series honours as comfortable as possible, especially if we have to bat last. We have to eliminate the chances of a Sri Lankan win out of the equation completely, before we can think about pressing for the win. Series victory means more than rankings promotion.

Player Rankings.

Hafeez: 6/10. Professor started off well in the first innings and played out the closing 9 overs on day 2 unharmed. He was dropped in the opening session on day 2, but eventually fell to a rough decision. He made it count in the 2nd innings and scored freely to ensure it did not go into the final day. He also broke the opening partnership in the 2nd innings by producing a beauty. Hafeez has scored 2 half centuries in this test series and scored 2 50s and 1 ton in his last 3 tests.

Taufeeq: 4/10. After a resilient display in Abu Dhabi, the left hander failed to back it up and was removed fairly cheaply in both innings. He was initially dropped in the 1st innings, but no damage was done. He also dropped a regulation chance on day 1 from Ajmal’s bowling fielding on the off side ring. Nonetheless, he was been consistent this year and we can let him off the hook.

Azhar: 10/10. Mr Reliable was exceptional and finally got that monkey off his back by reaching 3 figures on the 11th attempt after scoring 10 50s. He put on over 100 with Younis Khan for the 3rd wicket in the first innings and then continued the solid effort with captain Misbah before being dismissed exactly on 100 by a rough decision. He top scored in the first innings and was the key man behind Pakistan’s reasonable first innings lead. As always he was alert and chirpy at short leg under the helmet, he took a stunner in the first innings off Rehman’s bowling but while the decision was being doubled checked up stairs, Rehman as a slow bowler out of all people over stepped to deny him his 3rd wicket of the innings. Azhar has featured in 11 wins or draws in the 15 consecutive test matches he has played. 6 50s and 1 ton have come during winning causes whereas 4 50s have come in commendable draws. He clearly is an impact contributor. The 26 year old, who has an impressive grasp of English as we saw in his press conference has an average of 102 in this series.

The determined and gritty rock wall was influential in providing the solidity, stability, steadiness and direction to the innings on day 2 just like in Abu Dhabi when accompanied by Taufeeq by preserving wickets, building partnerships, occupying the crease for lengthy periods and wearing out the bowlers to set up the basis for further and easier accumulation on day 3. His application, gutsiness, mental toughness, temperament, fighting resilience and concentration was central to setting up the platform for Pakistan to move into a winnable position. Both times during this series Pakistan have only lost 1 and 3 wickets respectively on 2 day and added 232 and 239 to the overnight total over 3 sessions. A level of smartness was required to ensure they do not collapse and get Sri Lanka back in the game, but to set the foundations from where they can dictate terms by utilising game sense or adopting a disciplined approach, particularly on a wicket which you can trust and get value for your runs this was of paramount importance. Misbah and Mohsin Khan undoubtedly achieved what they were looking for here and Azhar Ali batted for the best part of a day during the process in getting to that goal on both occasions.

YK: 8/10. More slip catches and a first innings half century before playing on to a turning delivery from Sri Lanka’s skipper. He assisted Azhar Ali a great deal and looked settled and gutsy. As always he showed a fluent method for tackling the spinners and looked in control throughout with his bat always coming down early and looking to work the ball away with the angle and spin and defend tightly to anything which needed to be greeted with respect which he watched carefully and treated with caution with his neat technique. The knock was one which weared out Hearth as he grinded deep and got stuck in. This was his 9th half century of the year across all in the green shirt for the lion from Mardan.

Misbah: 7/10. This was his 4th test victory as captain and his 7th as a player. He averages 80 as a captain after 9 tests; in contrast he averages 34 as a player from 19 tests without being the captain. He was splendid with his slip catching during the opening session of the match and held on to absolutely anything which came his away to dismiss some prolific run getters in the first slip position which was where Hafeez was positioned in Abu Dhabi. With 20 international catches this year, 4 were added here during this impressive 9 wicket win. He battled hard in the closing session on day 2 and nearly went through the session without losing any wicket before Azhar Ali fell, but both took Pakistan into the lead and ensured they had a firm platform set where they could capitalise from. He also overcame the passages of play with the 2nd new ball unfazed with his unflappable temperament. Unlike in Abu Dhabi, here he was dismissed correctly in the 40s again by fishing at a wide delivery in the first few minutes of the 3rd day after battling hard for his runs the previous evening.

Shafiq: 8/10. His 3rd half century in 10 innings. He batted with positivity, intent and freedom to inject some impetus and momentum in the innings and advance the game forward. It was a considerably much better display than his heavily criticised slow scoring in Abu Dhabi. He also held on to the all important wicket of Kumar Sangakkara during the first innings when 2 wickets fell in consecutive deliveries. He successfully grabbed on to a lofted shot at mind on.

Adnan: 7/10. Just like Shafiq he played positively, but was unable to reach his first half century when he was the last man out to a flighted delivery from the Sri Lankan skipper. He drove with style through the off side and glanced anything fine from his legs. Out of all the Akmal’s he comes across as the one with the best and most compact defence. Yet another neat performance with the gloves for him as Pakistan is yet to lose in the 7 tests he has played.

Rehman: 6/10. Debatable selection and the only change in the team from that which was fielded in Abu Dhbai. He enticed a mistake from the former Sri Lankan captain in the first innings with his accuracy and guile and provided the all important breakthrough the very next ball after Ajmal dismissed Prasad with a doosra from around the wicket. His advance down the wicket to get off the mark against his opposite number was a foolish shot only for him to receive the dreaded death rattle and leave Adnan batting with the tail. Rehman removed the danger and in form batsmen again in the 2nd innings in the opening minutes of day 4 with a delivery which pitched in the rough patches outside the left hander’s off stump. The wily left arm spinner also produced a straighter one to shatter the furniture of Prasad immediately after tea when a frustrating 7th wicket partnership was beginning to flow and extend Sri Lanka’s lead. He varied his pace from 95 KPH to the low 70 KPH throughout his spells and kept the batsmen guessing. Pakistan have won 2 consecutive tests when both Ajmal and Rehman have been in the starting line up against top 8 ranked sides.

Gul: 6/10. Gul provided 3 top order wickets in the opening session of the test, but struggled to produce the goods in the 2nd innings and add many with the willow. He looked threatening in the first innings to trouble the Sri Lankan top order after they decided to make first use of the surface which back fired as Gul was on song.

Ajmal: 8/10. The undisputable magician was MOM, but his 3 in the first innings were all wrapping up the tail. Nonetheless, he produced the goods in the 2nd innings unlike in Abu Dhabi to end up with a tally of 8 after plugging away to a 5 for. The spin demon was also the night-watchman and managed to hang around for a frustrating 20. His fielding is also worth a mention as he managed to hold on successfully to an attempted pull shot from Sri Lanka’s keeper which was a key moment as this was the last recognised partnership. He is on track to be the leading bowler in 2011 in terms of wickets across all formats of the game very soon with his mysteries and variations. He currently is the leading wicket taker in the series and will want to finish it off that way.

Junaid: 8/10.
The left arm quickie bowled whole heartedly with his exuberance and whippy action and is just 1 behind Ajmal for the leading wicket taker in the test series. He has dismissed Dilshan 3 times consecutively with a clean bowled, slip catch and LBW. He is turning out to be a bunny of this energetic 21 year old pacer. Noticeably, all his 4 wickets came when he was bowling around the wicket which is a dangerous angle as he uses the crease effectively and can angle the ball in, away and straighten it without straying by any stretch of the imagination. Having taken his wickets at an average of 22 on batting friendly pitches, the left armer surely can only get better?

Average: Approximately 7.1.

First test average approximation was: 6.