Pakistan bank on spinners to beat Sri Lanka

Saeed AjmalSaeed Ajmal was ineffective in Abu Dhabi as Sri Lanka bounced back after conceding a 179-run first-innings lead to force a draw. AP PHOTO

Pakistan is banking on specialist spinners against Sri Lanka for Wednesday's second Test at a ground where Misbah-ul-Haq's men have won their only five-day game against the islanders in the last 12 Tests.

Offspinner Saeed Ajmal and left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman took 12 wickets in 2011 in a nine-wicket victory, and Misbah hopes the spinners earn Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the series.

Last week, Ajmal was ineffective in Abu Dhabi as Sri Lanka bounced back after conceding a 179-run first-innings lead to force a draw.

Rehman, in every likelihood, will receive his first game in the three-match series in place of left-arm fast bowler Rahat Ali, who was wicketless in the first Test.

''Usually you go with the two spinners on this (pitch) because on the third, fourth and fifth days spin plays a big role here,'' Misbah said on Tuesday.

Both teams cancelled practices on Tuesday due to an unusual spell of heavy rain in Dubai, and the pitch was left covered. However, clear weather is forecast over the next four days.

Ajmal has a rich haul of 24 wickets in four Tests at Dubai that include 8-114 against Sri Lanka in 2011.

''This pitch really gives him something, turn and a bit of bounce,'' Misbah said.

''I personally feel your psyche also plays a big role in your performances and I think psychologically he is more comfortable playing here in Dubai because he took lot of wickets here and had lot of success here.''

Pakistan wasted an ideal opportunity to win the first Test after earning a big first-innings lead. The side managed to dismiss key Sri Lanka players Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene early in the second innings but captain Angelo Mathews made a brilliant unbeaten century and set up a daunting target of 302 runs.

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