The captain of Sri Lanka, Mahela Jayawardene, has encouraged his top order batsmen to attack the Pakistani pace trio of Umar Gul, Sohai Tanvir and Mohammad Sami.
The first One Day International match was held at Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium, on June 7, Thursday, 2012 that was lost by the home side with a huge margin of six wickets.
The lethal fast bowlers of Pakistan humiliated Sri Lanka in the first One Day International and restricted them to 135 in the allotted 42 overs while losing 8 wickets. The Green Shirts thrashed 135 runs for the loss of just four wickets in 34.1 overs and grasped the match convincingly.
The Islanders opted to bat first and their top brass was unable to cope with the destructive fast bowlers of Pakistan. Umar Gul put them in the corner with his initial burst by clinching the wickets of their three prolific batsmen, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Chandimal. Mohammad Sami got rid of the dangerous batsman Kumar Sangakkara, in his first over and the home side was in dire trouble after losing their four wickets for 40 mere runs in 12.4 overs.
None of the above four batsmen was able to enter the double figures which resulted in a huge pressure for the batsmen to come. They however, managed 135 runs but Jayawardene predicted that the target of around 190 could have been a challenging one for the visitors who have won 9 out of the 11 ODIs played between the two countries in the recent past. He said,
“If we had batted a bit better and got somewhere to 190, it would have been a tougher challenge chasing. Pakistan’s track record in the last six months against us has been pretty good and it was up to us to try and change that but we didn’t play to our potential.”
Mahela Jayawardene hailed the performance of Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Sami as all of them are wicket taking bowlers and even make the run scoring difficult. The batsmen require a lot of concentration and dedication to cope with the trio as they use the new ball excellently. The skipper further commented,
“They are wicket-taking bowlers and are creating opportunities. We discussed it is important we don’t give too many wickets upfront with the new ball especially to those three guys.
Pakistan bowling attack has emerged into a deadly unit and their fast bowling is being well supported with the spinners. Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez are real difficult customers and each one of them is a match winner on his day.
Umar Gul and Mohammad Sami bowled to the perfection during the match and grabbed three wickets each while Sohail Tanvir teased the batsmen with his accurate bowling. Mohammad Hafeez played his 100th ODI and made it memorable by securing two wickets for just 20 runs in the allocated 10 overs and went on to score 37 runs while opening the innings.
Jayawardene knew the strength of the Pakistani bowling and once their pace attack makes an initial dent, the spinners do the rest. He acknowledged it by saying,
“Once you expose the middle order, then they get some quality spinners and it’s going to be tough for the rest of the batsmen. That’s something we need to tactically tackle and see how we can combat properly.”
Mahela Jayawardene expected his batsmen will come up with a positive approach in rest of the series while handling the Pakistani seamers with a more professional approach.