Nic Pothas, the Sri Lanka head coach, hoped his team would run through Pakistan on the fifth and final day of the second Test on Tuesday (October 10) as soon as the second new ball was available after seven overs.
Pakistan, chasing 317 to level the series, recovered from 52 for 5 to reach 198 without further loss, thanks to an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 146 between Asad Shafiq (86) and Sarfraz Ahmed (57) which has left them needing another 119 runs.
Pothas said Pakistan bowled well to dismiss Sri Lanka for a paltry 96 in their second innings. “(But) we think that we let ourselves down there,” said the former South African wicketkeeper. “But looking forward – we don’t look backwards – we are seven overs away from the new ball. If we can nick a wicket or two early, it changes things. People say that Test cricket is dead, but it is a very exciting day tomorrow.”
Pothas praised the stand between Shafiq and Sarfraz. “I said at the beginning that we are playing against a quality team,” he insisted. “There are going to be partnerships and you’ve got to accept that. You don’t expect a team of that quality to roll over.
“They played phenomenally well. When you take your chances, you get the rub of the green as well. Hopefully tomorrow, the rub of the green runs our way.”
The Sri Lankan coach backed the tactics employed by Dinesh Chandimal. “Chandi did a great job. The bowlers themselves, as well. Once the ball loses that hardness, the wicket is good and once the ball is soft, it’s tough (to take wickets). But I thought that Chandi did a great job.
“They took risks and they played beautifully. Cricket is a funny game. You can make the wrong call and it can be right and you can make the right call and it could be wrong. Let’s see what happens.”
Pothas said day-night games added a whole new dimension to Test cricket. “I don’t think there are any negatives, to be honest. You might have expected a few more people to come and watch as it is after work and stuff. That is the reason we are having day-night cricket.
“If you ask me whether it is the way forward, it is very exciting. The pink ball is great. Probably we will have zing bails in the next series. It will change. The world is moving forward and people want excitement.”