Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath came out with a stupendous bowling performance in a 21-run victory in the first Test in Abu Dhabi last Monday, as he took 6-43 to foil Pakistan's modest chase of 136 on the final day of the match.
The narrow win gives Dinesh Chandimal's side a unique chance for a series win over Pakistan at their neutral venues of the UAE, where they have never lost a series in nine attempts.
Shafiq's low scores of 39 and 20 in both innings were not what the doctor ordered for a Pakistan batting line-devoid of big names and this is something the batsman feels was a personal disappointment.
"Of course, the loss in Abu Dhabi hurt all of us including myself and I am determined to ensure that I will be able to put the disappointment behind me and concentrate on the task ahead to deliver the kind of performances that I am capable of and one that the country expects of me," the 31-year-old was quoted as saying by pakpassion.net.
With 10 centuries and 18 fifties in 57 Tests, everyone expected Asad to score big and deliver for Pakistan who are already facing because of the vacuum created in the team by the departure of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan due to retirements in early 2017.
"The gap that exists because of the departure of two greats of the game who have served Pakistan with distinction for many years is one that cannot be filled with ease. Both Misbah and Younis were vastly experienced and steered Pakistan batting through very tough times which speaks volumes for their skills," he said.
"It is now up to all of us, including Azhar Ali, Sarfaraz and myself who have played under the guidance of these two great batsmen for 6-7 years. It's time for us stand up and be counted and pay back the trust put in us by the selectors," he added.
Sri Lanka, which drew against Bangladesh, defeated Zimbabwe and then lost to India in its last three series, will replace Pakistan at sixth position and also record its first away series win over Pakistan since its 2-1 victory in 1999-2000 if it manages to win or draw the second Test.
The pink-ball Test, the sixth in all since Australia and New Zealand played the first such game in Adelaide in 2015, will also be a new experience for the Sri Lankans.
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt, wk), Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Asghar, Bilal Asif, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas, Wahab Riaz.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Rangana Herath, Lakshan Sandakan, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Gamage. (ANI)