Fantasy: Should you go in with an all-spin bowling attack?

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23 Jul 2022 | 08:56 AM staff

Fantasy: Should you go in with an all-spin bowling attack?

Here are a few tips that might help you create your fantasy team for the second Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan

Sri Lanka host Pakistan in the second Test of the two-match series at the Galle International Stadium, starting Sunday (July 24). Pakistan chased down 342 in the first game to go 1-0 up in the series and the hosts will look to bounce back and draw level. 

Pakistan have won just one out of the last four Test series in Sri Lanka. A draw or win in the second game could see them walking away with back-to-back Test series wins in Sri Lanka.

Ground details

There have been quite a few Tests played in Galle this year and not so surprisingly, it is the spinners who have done the bulk of the damage here. They have picked up close to 78% of the wickets, picking up around seven wickets per innings on an average.

However, as Pakistan and Australia have shown in the recent past, the value of fast bowlers cannot be discounted given that their variation and ability to generate some reverse swing with the old ball could become a crucial skill.

Hence, having a good balance in your fantasy team becomes important, with a slight tilt towards the spinners.

Suggested Team

While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your team from’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.

Captain and vice-captain suggestions

For small leagues: Babar Azam (c), Dinesh Chandimal (vc)

For grand leagues: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Prabath Jayasuriya (vc)

Stats that matter

Pakistan have dealt with the huge blow of losing Shaheen Afridi in for this Test, given that he is the second highest wicket-taker in the WTC 2021-23 cycle with 41 wickets at 18.19. He also picked up four wickets in the first innings of the first Test, playing a huge role in restricting Sri Lanka to a below-par total.

With five 50-plus scores in seven Test innings this year Babar Azam has been in stupendous form. He scored 119 and 54 in the first Test and Pakistan will count on their skipper to continue his form in this crucial encounter as well. 

Dinesh Chandimal has turned a corner this year having scored 618 runs – a tally that’s more than the last three years combined - at 123.60. He stood firm in the first Test with twin fifties but was not enough to take Sri Lanka home. 

Pakistan batters have been in top form this year. They average 41.8 per wicket and have lost a wicket every 93.8 deliveries, both of which are the best. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, are closer to the bottom with corresponding numbers of 28.4 and 54.9 respectively.

On the bowling front, Pakistan have the worst runs per wicket (42.4) and balls per wicket (79) ratio in 2022. 

Grand League Punts

No opening batter has scored more runs (1,370) than Dimuth Karunaratne in Tests since 2021. He has done so at an average of 54.80 that includes five hundreds and six fifties in 26 innings. However, Sri Lanka would need their skipper to step up in this Test given that he has slammed just one fifty in his last five innings. A perfect stage for Karunaratne to come good.

With 21 wickets from just two Tests, Prabath Jayasuriya has made Test cricket look insanely easy. He is already Sri Lanka’s leading wicket-taker in Tests, with his scalps coming 18.76 runs and 42 deliveries apart. He picked up 12 wickets on his debut against Australia and fell just one wicket shy of another 10-wicket haul in the previous Test against Pakistan. The 30-year-old certainly has many more left up his sleeve in this game.

Here are the Top 10 Criclytics Projections:

Probable XIs:

Sri Lanka: Oshada Fernando/Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Ramesh Mendis, Dunith Wellalage/Jeffrey Vandersay, Prabath Jayasuriya, Kasun Rajitha

Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (c), Agha Salman, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf/Nauman Ali, Naseem Shah

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Sri Lanka vs PakistanPakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2022Sri LankaPakistanBabar AzamDinesh ChandimalDimuth KarunaratnePrabath Jayasuriya

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