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'We want to win this series and make the occasion memorable' – Azhar Ali
Pakistan News

'We want to win this series and make the occasion memorable' – Azhar Ali

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali on Wednesday said he wants his side to bag the Test series and make the homecoming a ‘memorable one’.

Test cricket returned to Pakistan after a gap of almost 10 years when Sri Lanka played first Test at Rawalpindi last week. However, bad weather forced the game to end in a draw as there weren’t many overs bowled to enforce a result.

After 10 years playing home series in the UAE, Azhar said Pakistan wanted to take maximum edge by playing at home after a long exile.

"We are playing a home series and need to capitalise on that home advantage," he told reporters at National Stadium, Karachi.

"We want to win this series and make the occasion memorable."

Despite most of the sessions at Rawalpindi ending in a washout, Pakistan gained a slight psychological edge against Sri Lanka on the final day when Abid Ali and Babar Azam struck hundreds to guide their team to 252 for 2 in response to Sri Lanka’s 308 for 6 declared in the first innings.

Also Read: 'Regret not coming for the shorter formats' - Karunaratne feels Pakistan is safe for cricket

Abid, however, grabbed the headlines when he became the only batsman to score hundreds on his ODI and Test debut.

Pakistan are most likely to make on change for the second Test, with Yasir Shah set to be drafted in for pace bowler Usman Shinwari, who has been ruled out with typhoid.

Azhar’s own batting form has been a concern for Pakistan as he hasn’t scored a half-century in his last 12 Test innings.

On the other hand, Sri Lanka are determined to spoil Pakistan’s homecoming following an impressive show in South Africa earlier.

Sri Lanka became the first Asian side to win a Test series in South Africa (2-0) before drawing a home series against New Zealand.

Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne said his team are prepared to give Pakistan a tough competition but warned against any sorts of complacency.

"We look forward to giving good competition to Pakistan, but know that it will be tough to beat them," he said.

The visitors will be missing pace spearhead Kasun Rajitha, who pulled a hamstring during the first Test and had to go off the field after bowling few overs.