DUBAI: The Pakistan cricket team has added left-arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz in place of seamer Hassan Ali; the leading wicket-taker of the ICC Champions Trophy is rested due to a side strain.
Hassan Ali had been troubled with fitness problems since the last month when he also missed the second T20 against World XI team.
Pakistan once again chose to retain their main spinner Yasir Shah in the lineup along with three fast bowlers for the second and third Test match of the series against Sri Lanka held in Dubai.
The remainder of the side remains unchanged from the first game — that Sri Lankans narrowly won in Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
The Sri Lankan team are in high spirits after the first match and have only made two changes for the second Test.
Debutants Sadeera Samarawickrama and Lahiru Gamage come in to the side as replacements for injured batsman Lahiru Thirimanne and spinner Lakshan Sandakan, respectively.
Samarawickrama received his Test cap from batting coach Hashan Tillakaratne, whereas Gamage earned his from bowling coach Rumesh Ratnayake.
It appears that Sri Lankans are looking to strengthen their seam attack, as they included the right-arm, fast-medium Gamage in place of Sandakan — who stayed wicketless in the first Test.
Speaking about the behaviour of the pitch, skipper Dinesh Chandimal indicated a day prior to the Test that the track in Dubai could be helpful and supportive to the seamers.
This is the sixth day/night Test match following International Cricket Council’s (ICC) approval in a bid to improve the popularity of the longest form cricket.
The Test that has commenced in Dubai International Cricket Stadium, is Sri Lanka’s maiden pink-ball game. while Pakistan is playing their third day/night Test.
Interestingly, Pakistan played their first pink-ball Test against West Indies in Dubai, wherein Azhar Ali opened the innings and made an undefeated masterful triple century at 302 runs, declaring at 579/3.
Unfortunately, they were miserly bundled out for 123 runs in the second innings.
West Indies right-arm leg break bowler Devendra Bishoo thrashed Pakistan’s experienced batting line-up and took eight wickets.
Pakistan will now have to face Rangana Herath — another master of spin, who has already steered his team to clinch a victory in Abu Dhabi with his terrific bowling.
The Pakistani skipper Sarfraz Ahmed showed his confidence in the batting line-up and expressed hope that Pakistani batsmen will attack Sri Lankan bowlers.
Babar Azam, the middle-order batsman who received his Test cap at the Dubai cricket stadium last year in the Day and Night Test, was unfortunately exposed by Sri Lankan seamers and spinners in both innings of the Abu Dhabi Test.
Nevertheless, he has been given a chance to prove his skills in the Test format again.