DUBAI - Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore said Monday nothing would please him more than to end his two-year stint with a win over Sri Lanka, a team he groomed to World Cup glory in 1996.
“To win, particularly against Sri Lanka,” said Whatmore when asked how he would like to end his two-year reign after the ongoing three Tests against Sri Lanka. Under Whatmore, who took over in March 2012, Pakistan have not won a Test series but attained heights by beating India in India and South Africa in South Africa — both in one-day series. Whatmore’s highest point as coach was winning the World Cup with Sri Lanka 18 years ago — a team he said he respected a lot.
“To win against Sri Lanka, the team I coached for six years, my country of birth would be great and I am keen on doing well against them, some of them (players) are very good friends but when I enter the field we are enemies, so I am keen to finish the stint with a win,” said Whatmore, born in Sri Lanka but who played seven Tests and one one-day for Australia. Pakistan and Sri Lanka drew the first Test in Abu Dhabi last week. The second Test starts in Dubai from Wednesday while the third will be played in Sharjah from January 16.
Whatmore believes his team can force a win if they get 20 wickets. “You must get 20 wickets, bat well to win a Test. We couldn’t get the advantage of the two hundreds that Misbah-ul Haq and Younis Khan scored and did not have a big lead,” said Whatmore of Pakistan’s 179-run lead. Led by a career best 157 not out by skipper Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka batted well to save the Test on the fourth and fifth day.
Whatmore said off-spinner Saeed Ajmal not getting a wicket in 49 overs in Sri Lanka’s second innings wasn’t a worry. “I don’t think it was a worry, it was a combination of the difficulties he faced extracting something out of the wicket as well as opposition playing very well,” said Whatmore. Pakistan will hope the Dubai stadium pitch will help their spinners, and are likely to add left-arm slow bowler Abdul Rehman to supplement Ajmal.