Saeed Ajmal and Rangana Herath, two spinners at the top of their game, were expected to be the most potent weapons for Pakistan and Sri Lanka respectively. But then, that plan did not quite work out in Abu Dhabi, with the pitch a not-really-for-the-tweakers surface, which then resulted in the Test match ending in a draw.
Where to Watch Live
The match is scheduled for an 11.30 am IST and 11am PST start with live coverage on Sony Six in India and Geo Super in Pakistan. There is no official live streaming option available in India, but Pakistan viewers can watch the match online free HERE. Catch the action in Africa HERE, while US viewers can live stream the match HERE. Sri Lanka viewers can watch the match via live streaming HERE.
However, starting Wednesday in the second Test in Dubai, spinners are expected to come back into the reckoning; after all the last time a Test match was played in this venue, spinners accounted for more than half of the first innings wickets.
Ajmal and Herath, the winner of that particular spin battle could decide the outcome of the second Test, with the series delicately poised at 0-0 after the draw in the first Test.
"If you look at the history of this ground, this pitch I think it really slows down and it really gives something to the spinners," Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq said on Tuesday. "Both of our spinners had success here.
"Usually go with two spinners on this [surface] because on the third, fourth and fifth days spin plays a big role here. Let's see tomorrow how the pitch is, and then we decide.
"Both teams realise this is the pitch where we can really have a result. We really want to put a big effort here. I think Sri Lanka also know that this is the chance where they can get a lead."
A lead was something Sri Lanka did not quite manage in the first Test, having to bat with their backs to the wall in the second innings after conceding a 179-run first innings lead, with skipper Angelo Mathews leading by example.
"It's really important that we did well in the first match, having not played Tests in for so long," said Sri Lanka veteran Mahela Jayawardene, who struggled for runs in the first Test. "To be in such a bad situation against Pakistan and then to come back was really good.
"We got back into the game and that's what Test cricket is about. Different things happen on different days. When we are behind, we have to show a little character and we did that, even turning it into a potentially winning situation.
"But it's important to realise that's over now, and we have to go and look at this next pitch and start again. If we do that, and keep to the plans that we'll devise, it shouldn't be hard to win here."
Team news: Pakistan: Wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal injured himself during the first Test, and Sarfraz Ahmed has been called in as his replacement. With the pitch expected to turn, Pakistan, as Misbah suggested, are likely to go with two spinners, giving Abdur Rehman a chance to shine.
Sri Lanka: Lahiru Thirimanne has flown back home along with Nuwan Kulasekara, both due to injuries, with Kusal Perera getting a call-up. Sachitra Senanayake had a far from impressive debut, even if the surface far from aided spin. Mathews could draft in another rookie Dilruwan Perera to replace Senanayake in the first XI.
Expected lineups: Pakistan: Ahmed Shahzad, Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Asad Shafiq, Bilawal Bhatti, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Junaid Khan.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Dilruwan Perera, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal.