Pakistan Feels the Pressure to Save the Series
Pakistan’s batsmen deprived their team of a chance of winning the series, collapsing to lose seven wickets for 13 runs after reaching a position of advantage in the chase in the fourth ODI. An implosion of that nature can be dispiriting, the painstaking yet determined progress by their captain and an emerging top-order talent decimated by the ineptness of those followed. Not too long ago, in 2009 in Sri Lanka, such collapses cost Pakistan the Test series; they have another game to get their batting in order before the Tests.
That’s if the weather permits them, though there’s the insurance of a reserve day. The balance of power has shifted from spin to pace in the Sri Lankan bowling line-up, and the hosts’ seamers have shown there’s sufficient ammunition to defend a competitive score. Their batting has improved significantly, led by their experienced trio, after a forgettable performance in the rain-affected first ODI. Sri Lanka are a team on a high; Pakistan, with some sloppy fielding and misfiring batting, not so.
This Premadasa track is not the one that made the venue a fortress of sorts for the home team in the previous couple of decades. They face a good bowling unit but Pakistan’s batsmen have a bigger challenge – that they don’t end up becoming their own biggest threat.