Sunday 1 July 2012

Mini-session Analysis 2nd test SL Pak SSC

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the second test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

1-1aPakistan 39/0 off 14Pakistan
1-1bPakistan 55/1 off 14Pakistan
1-2aPakistan 70/0 off 16Pakistan
1-2bPakistan 53/0 off 13Pakistan
1-3aPakistan 62/0 off 14Pakistan
1-3bPakistan 55/0 off 19Pakistan
2-1aPakistan 37/1 off 15Sri Lanka
2-1bPakistan 33/0 off 10.2Pakistan
2-2aPakistan 61/1 off 13.4Pakistan
2-2bPakistan 23/1 off 5.2Sri Lanka
3-1aPakistan 63/2 off 12.4Pakistan
3-1bSri Lanka 70/1 off 15Sri Lanka
4-1aSri Lanka 36/0 off 12Sri Lanka
4-1bSri Lanka 29/0 off 12Sri Lanka
4-2aSri Lanka 43/0 off 17Sri Lanka
4-3aSri Lanka 58/1 off 14Sri Lanka
4-3bSri Lanka 42/3 off 15.4Pakistan
5-1aSri Lanka 30/0 off 16.2Draw
5-1bSri Lanka 59/0 off 14Sri Lanka
5-2aSri Lanka 24/5 off 8.4Pakistan
5-2bPakistan 99/2 off 16.4Pakistan
5-3aPakistan 1/0 off 1.2Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 55/1 off 14
5-3bSri Lanka 31/1 off 8Sri Lanka

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Stumps, Day 1: Pakistan lead the count 6-0

An even more dominant day than Sri Lanka's first day in the last test. 6-0. Today was all about Mohammed Hafeez. He was patient at first, (he had only scored 12 off 62). He had a lucky reprieve just after he brought up his century, getting strangled off a no ball. But 172 is his highest test score, and he only needs 9 more for it to become his highest first class score.

There is a small asterix beside this, as this is the SSC, and it has been a haven for top 3 batsmen recently (average score for the top 3 in the last 2 years at SSC is over 60), but this cannot take away the outstanding effort that Hafeez has made. He has almost put his team into a no lose situation. Sri Lanka are going to have to bat a long time if they want to take a series lead to Pallekele. Which means that we could have some absorbing mental battles coming up as the Pakistani bowlers try and wear down the Sri Lankan batsmen.

Stumps, Day 2: Pakistan lead 8-2

Now there is hope for Sri Lanka. Just over half of the days play was lost to rain, and the mission for Sri Lanka just got a lot easier. They will not need to last as long as they would have, and the pitch is a lot less likely to break up.

However it does bring Abdul Rehman into the game. When Pakistan played New Zealand he was absolutely toothless on the dry tracks. But once there was some moisture he suddenly looked like Bishan Bedi and Alf Valentine's lovechild. A slightly sticky track and he might become a real handful.

If the first day was about Mohammed Hafeez, the second day was about Azhar Ali. He hit his third test century, equaling his previous best of 157 (scored against England at Dubai). But the real thing to notice was his strike rate today. He normally scores at just under 40 runs per 100 balls. Today he scored 65 off 108. That's a strike rate of over 60. It was exactly what the team needed, but it was still a surprise. The strike rate from the other end was even more of a surprise, and an obvious sign of team tactics. Misbah-ul-Haq scored 29 off 40, at a strike rate of over 70. These are two of the slowest batsmen in world cricket, scoring at well over 50, a clear sign that the Pakistan team were trying to increase the pace, in order to get enough time to bowl Sri Lanka out.

It will be interesting to see their approach in the morning session, as their tail is hardly noted for lathering it to all parts. The big question is if 550 odd will be enough to make Sri Lanka follow on. I don't think that it will be personally, but it will be interesting to find out.

Stumps, Day 3: Pakistan lead the count 9-3

There is still time for Pakistan to win, but the chances are increasingly unlikely. Misbah played his part perfectly, scored the runs at a rapid pace then declared inside the first hour. Junaid bowled well, but then Dilshan did what Dilshan does best and counter-attacked beautifully. A day of good cricket and bad weather.

Stumps, Day 4: Pakistan lead the count 10-7

I wouldn't be surprised if this match is called off at lunch tomorrow. Sri Lanka have almost done what they needed to do in order to secure their series lead. Dilshan played a controlled, mature innings (which was a surprise) as did Sangakkara (which was not a surprise). Pakistan made some progress in the final session, but they are unlikely to have sufficient time to finish the match. A test match is supposed to go for about 450 overs. This one has one day to go and is at 232.4, only just over half way. It makes me wonder if the idea of a reserve day for tests is a good idea. It can only be used if less than a certain number of overs have been bowled at the end of the 5th day, possibly 400, and the overs available can not allow the match to go over 450 overs, but it could make games like this one have much more life in them.

First drinks break, Day 5: Pakistan lead the count 10-7

Sri Lanka edge slowly towards the follow on target. Once they reach that hopefully the captains and umpires will call the game off. Hopefully.

Stumps, Day 5: Pakistan win the count 12-10, but the match is a draw.

But what a draw. I apologise to anyone if they stopped following the game due to me thinking it was dead. 5 wickets in an hour, and then a good declaration from Misbah brought this game back to life. Imagine if there was a reserve day.

Junaid Khan becomes possible the first person to take only 5 wickets in a match where two batsmen scored 190's and win the man of the match. However it was the correct decision. On a pitch where every other bowler struggled, he knocked over some of the best batsmen in the world, and remained threatening throughout the match.

I'm glad that they didn't call it off at lunch, and I'm sure any spectators there are too.

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