Ajmal absence gives Sri Lanka edge: Atapattu

Source:  Dawn.com Published in Sports on Monday, June 15, 2015

Sri Lankan head coach, Marvan Atapattu, believes the absence of Pakistan’s ace spinner Saeed Ajmal will provide a “psychological” edge to the hosts in the upcoming series.

“The major change that I see in this Pakistan side is that Saeed Ajmal is not there,” Atapattu said ahead of the three-Test series against Pakistan that begins in Galle on Wednesday.

“He has been their main weapon and it's somewhat unfortunate that things have fallen that way. Teams have to face such situations,” he said, adding: “It's a psychological thing when you know that Ajmal at his peak made not only the Sri Lankans but a lot of batsmen think.”

Terming the absence of the 37-year-old spinner an advantage for the Islanders, Atapattu expected his batsmen to play good cricket against all attacks.

“[Ajmal] gave a lot of [batsmen] sleepless nights. Now that he is not there it's a psychological advantage to us but still you've got to respect the good ball and put away the bad ones. That's the mentality I expect our players to be in,” he said.

Atapattu said his side would not the underestimate Ajmal-less Pakistan attack despite going into the series in a confident frame of mind.

“I believe they've got bowlers who could win games but at the same time they haven't done it yet.”

Pakistan are to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty 20 matches in their 53-day tour to Sri Lanka.

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