Home > Features >

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka 2014: Tantalisingly close middle-order battle between the sides

All eyes will be on Sri Lankan veteran batsman Mahela Jayawardene, who is all set to hang up his boots in the Test format at the conclusion of the series © Getty Images
All eyes will be on Sri Lankan veteran batsman Mahela Jayawardene, who is all set to hang up his boots in the Test format at the conclusion of the series © Getty Images

Sri Lanka and Pakistan clash in what will be their sixth Test series in six years. Runs and spin bowling are expected to rule the roost and the quality of batting, especially in the middle order is expected to be a treat from both sides. R Vishal compares the statistics of three of the batsmen from both sides who are expected to make a difference in the series.

There are two recurring themes in Sri Lanka-Pakistan encounters. The spinners are the main weapons for both sides, but with heavyweights in the batting, the encounters get the extra punch. Both sides have some quality batsmen and it is difficult to choose between the two sides. On one hand, you have Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq and on the other, there is the class and elegance of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Let us weight the batting strengths of both sides. Given the fact that both sides have faced off quite regularly in recent years, the numbers do reveal quite a lot.

Pakistan:

*Against Sri Lanka Player Matches Runs Ave 50s 100s Highest Score
Younis Khan

24

1808

50.22

6

6

313

Misbah-ul-Haq

13

860

53.75

7

1

135

Azhar Ali

7

674

61.27

2

4

157

Younis Khan: At the age of 36, Younis’s hunger and insatiable appetite for runs remain undiminished. Undoubtedly, he will be the trump card for Pakistan and the sheer volume of runs denote that. Younis has seen the pendulum oscillate from the glory days; which he either scripted or led his team and the days when the team’s fortunes bit the dust on and off the pitch. Younis is the only one with a triple hundred during the encounters between the two sides. From Muttiah Muralitharan to Rangana Herath, he has slayed them all and his sheer numbers denote that.

Misbah-ul-Haq: Pakistan skipper Misbah loves the Sri Lankan bowling attack just as much as his partner-in-crime Younis. Misbah has only one century to his name and that has been largely due to missing out on turning his solid starts into three figure scores. Misbah and Younis complement each other really well at the crease. The old warhorse, Misbah has many layers to his batting and can seamlessly shuttle from defence to attack with his strokeplay.

Azhar Ali: The last time the two sides played against each other, Azhar Ali’s workmanlike century set up a near impossible win in the fourth innings. A pure joy to watch and armed with a near copybook technique, Azhar has simply gorged on the Sri Lankan bowlers. The slow nature of the Sri Lankan wickets have hardly given the classy right-hander a cause for worry and averages 60 in the three Tests in the Island Nation.

Sri Lanka:

*Against Pakistan

Player Matches Runs Ave 50s 100s Highest Score
Mahela Jayawardene

27

1544

32.16

8

2

240

Kumar Sangakkara

19

2486

80.19

10

9

230

Angelo Mathews

12

842

56.13

5

1

157*

 

Mahela Jayawardene: The Sri Lankan batting legend will hang up his boots in Test cricket after the second Test in Colombo (SSC). For all his herculean feats for Sri Lanka over the years, Mahela Jayawardene’s average against Pakistan fails to pass muster. More so, given the fact he is one of the gifted batsmen of his generation and is almost peerless on the subcontinent. It was Jayawardene’s classy century that gave Sri Lanka their previous victory over Pakistan. Don’t be surprised if he pulls off another marathon knock at his beloved SSC to pull down curtains.

Kumar Sangakkara: Staggering is the only word to describe the way Kumar Sangakkara’s sheer numbers that he has stockpiled against Pakistan over the years. With nine tons and 10 fifties, the doyen of Sri Lankan cricket’s Bradman-esque feats puts him head and shoulders above the rest as the pick of the batsmen being listed here. Sangakkara’s battles against Saeed Ajmal will be a treat to watch.

Angelo Mathews: Playing lower down the order or being thrust into captaincy at 25 has barely affected Angelo Mathews’s form or clarity of thought. As a batsman, Mathews is growing exponentially and the numbers after taking over the reins as skipper is there for everyone to see. Mathews’s baptism as a Test batsman came in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December, where he amassed scores such as 91 and 157 not out. It is expected that he raises his reputation as a batsman by a few more notches in this series.

(R Vishal is a journalist and alumnus of the Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Melbourne

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Jan 2, 2015 (14:00 IST)   at Cape Town

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Jan 3, 2015 (03:30 IST)   at Wellington

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 68 runs

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Australia won by 4 wkts

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Centurion

South Africa won by an innings and 220 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Ind vs Aus: Dhoni analyses the 4-wicket loss at Brisbane

Akshar Patel picked far too early for Test cricket

Live Cricket Score Ranji Trophy 2014-15, Round 3, Day 2 — All matches: Yuvraj Singh scores 2nd century in his 2nd Ranji game this season

Shahid Afridi, please do not take the innocence away from cricket

South Africa vs West Indies 2014-15: Is Jason Holder a captain or a stooge?

Can Eoin Morgan change England’s limited-overs fortunes?

Australia India Interviews Moments in history Ricky Ponting

South Africa not worried about Test rankings, says Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla

Younis Khan: Was not easy to make name under Saeed Anwar, Basit Ali, Rashid Latif and Moin Khan

ICC World Cup 2015: Punter ejection in Big Bash League puts organisers on high alert

India vs Australia 2014-15: DRS can be used in event of “howlers”, says Ravi Shastri

India vs Australia 2014-15: VVS Laxman preferred Pragyan Ojha as Ravindra Jadeja’s replacement

Akshar Patel picked far too early for Test cricket

ICC World Cup 2015: Will India’s trend of performing against expectations continue?

Moin Khan: Pakistan must carry momentum in ICC World Cup 2015

West Indies tour of South Africa 2014-15: One-sided encounters may suck interest out of series

India tour of Australia 2014-15: Can Australia make it 12 wins in a row at home?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

683 Posts | 6 Fans

Mitchell Johnson's 37 wickets against England in Ashes 2013-14

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here