Chris Silverwood believes the Sri Lanka team will “come out fighting” to level the two-match series and beat Pakistan in the second Test starting Monday in Colombo.
Pakistan arrived in Sri Lanka without a Test win to its name in 12 months but, despite a wobbly final-innings chase, a four-wicket victory in Galle means the visitor needs only a draw to win the two-match series.
“The motivation is there. The players know how important it is to be picking up Test points, and how important it is to win at home,” Silverwood, the Sri Lanka coach told reporters on Sunday.
“Listening to the chat in the dressing room, they are going to come out fighting and push much harder,” he added.
In its last Test, other than Dhananjaya de Silva - who made 122 and 82 - the home team’s batters failed to deliver in Galle, many of them getting into the 20s and 30s but not building on their starts.
Sri Lanka is playing its first Test match at the Singhalese Sports Club (SSC) after five years - a match it lost to England by 42 runs, when Silverwood was England’s bowling coach.
“I know what to expect from this venue. If you want to be good and competitive all around the world, you have to learn to play under different conditions,” said Silverwood.
One of the key areas that Sri Lanka must focus on is its fielding, which proved costly in the first Test at Galle.
“If we analyse the last Test match, if we are honest, we fell short. The dropped catches proved costly. This is not the first time it’s happened. There were stages when we let them get away, at one point they scored at five runs an over, we need to drag that back,” he added.
Pakistan may want to include another seamer as the SSC is known to provide bounce and movement but will have to consider whether to make changes to a winning side. And Pakistan coach Grant Bradburn said the team wanted to be “number one” in the world.
“This ground is going to be a different examination for us, with different skills required,” Bradburn said, adding the whole squad is “fit and ready” for selection.
“Certainly we need to adapt to the conditions that we find on each of the days, and on each of the phases of the game.”
Silverwood, a fast bowler, gave credit to Pakistan’s pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah.
“The two fast bowlers that Pakistan have are very good and they are good at their craft, they have good pace and they don’t give many runs away,” said Silverwood.
Sri Lanka has won 20 of the 43 Tests played at SSC and lost only nine, including the most recent Test it hosted, against England five years ago.
Pakistan has played there on six occasions and has won one and lost one with the rest drawn.
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