ODI series preview: Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Such is the unpredictable nature of both Pakistan and Sri Lanka that their upcoming ODI series is almost impossible to call.
Pakistan won the Champions Trophy earlier this year but since then put in a shambolic display in the Test series against Sri Lanka with disciplinary issues rearing their heads again.
Sri Lanka have had their own disciplinary problems with opener Danuskha Gunathilaka suspended for the series after failing to turn up on time for practices and arriving at a match without his kit amongst other things.
Gunathilaka had been one of the form batsmen at the top of Sri Lanka’s order and his absence will be felt especially with former skipper Angelo Mathews absent through injury.
Lahiru Thirimanne is likely to open with Upul Tharanga with wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella being perhaps the most dangerous batsman in their ranks.
Fakhar Zaman is an eye-catching talent for Pakistan at the top of the order but it will be interesting to see if he can sustain his performances while dealing with the pressure of batting ahead of a fragile middle-order.
The designated home team really need Babar Azam to fulfill his potential to solidify their middle-order.
Pakistan will certainly have the edge when it comes to fast bowlers even with Mohammad Amir sidelined by injury.
Hasan Ali has another opportunity to establish himself as Paksitan’s leading strike-bowler and is backed up by Ruman Raees, Junaid Khan and the uncapped Usman Khan.
The raw pace of Pakistan’s attack contrasts sharply with the medium pacers in Sri Lanka’s ranks with none of Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera and Vishwa Fernando able to match the pace and aggression of their opponents.
Allrounders Thisara Perera and Imad Wasim look set to be power players for their respective sides with their contrasting styles.
Imad provides and extra spinning option in support of Shadab Khan who has quickly established himself as Pakistan’s lead spinner in ODI cricket.
On the other side things are a little more confused with Jeffery Vandersay coming back in for the highly-rated Lakshan Sandakan but they do have Akila Dananjaya who burst onto the scene against India claiming six wickets for just 11 runs during the second ODI.
Pakistan should probably be favourites for this series but install them in that position at your peril.
Fakhar will be required to hold things together at the top and provide the spark to the innings all at the same time.
Shadab should have the weapons to trouble the Sri Lanka batsmen on turning tracks.
Dinesh Chandimal hasn’t been in great touch in ODI cricket but he could provide a stable head in the middle order in tough situations.
Dananjaya is a mystery spinner that would trouble most with his blend of wrist and finger spin.
Pakistan ODI squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt, wk) Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Shahdab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan, Ruman Raees, Junaid Khan, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq
Sri Lanka ODI squad: Upul Tharanga (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella,Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana, Chamara Kapugedara, Thisara Perera, Seekuge Prasanna, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando,Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay
Last five head-to-head results
2017 Champions Trophy: Pakistan won by 3 wickets in Cardiff
2015 Fifth ODI: Sri Lanka won by 165 runs in Hambantota
2015 Fourth ODI: Pakistan won by 7 wickets at the Premadasa stadium
2015 Third ODI: Pakistan won by 135 runs at the Premadasa stadium
2015 Second ODI: Sri Lanka won by 2 wickets at Pallekele
Fri Oct 13 (50 ovs) 15:00 local (11:00 GMT | 13:00 SAST) 1st ODI – Pakistan v Sri Lanka Dubai International Cricket Stadium D/N
Mon Oct 16 (50 ovs) 15:00 local (11:00 GMT | 13:00 SAST) 2nd ODI – Pakistan v Sri Lanka Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi D/N
Wed Oct 18 (50 ovs) 15:00 local (11:00 GMT | 13:00 SAST) 3rd ODI – Pakistan v Sri Lanka Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi D/N
Fri Oct 20 (50 ovs) 15:00 local (11:00 GMT | 13:00 SAST) 4th ODI – Pakistan v Sri Lanka Sharjah Cricket Stadium D/N
Mon Oct 23 (50 ovs) 15:00 local (11:00 GMT | 13:00 SAST) 5th ODI – Pakistan v Sri Lanka Sharjah Cricket Stadium D/N
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