ODI series preview: Sri Lanka v Pakistan

News

Sri Lanka and Pakistan are one of the more regular pairings in one-dayers, and they will play three more such matches over the next week, in three venues across Sri Lanka, with the hosts the clear favourites.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan are one of the more regular pairings in one-dayers, and they will play three more such matches over the next week, in three venues across Sri Lanka, with the hosts the clear favourites.

While Pakistan have faced Sri Lanka twice this year, losing both, the hosts are the Asia Cup champions, and have played significantly more cricket than the men in green. They go into the series having won the Test series too.

Pakistan have only played five ODIs this year, winning the three not against Sri Lanka, while the hosts have played a whopping 17 ODIs, winning 13 of them. Their most recent series ended in defeat though, to South Africa.

Both teams will be weaker in the bowling departments than they'd like, with Sri Lanka missing attacking spinner Sachithra Senanayake, while Pakistan will be without Saeed Ajmal for the first two games, for the same reasons.

Ajmal is on his way to Brisbane for testing on his action after being reported for chucking during the Test series, while Senanayake has just completed remedial work in Perth and needs more testing by the ICC before he can return.

In the pace departments, Sri Lanka could be without swing bowler and most dangerous Lasith Malinga as he complained of a sore back during training on Friday. If he misses out, Lahiru Gamage could be given a run.

Pakistan, meanwhile, could see Mohammad Irfan playing for the first time since late last year, if Junaid Khan has not recovered from his concussion. He was struck by a bouncer from Dhammika Prasad in the second Test. Irfan has been out with a fractured hip.

Batting-wise, Sri Lanka will be the more confident side, on paper at least. They have three of the most experience batsmen in the world to call on, with Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara available, while Angelo Mathews is in the form of his life.

Pakistan have recalled Younis Khan for this series, hoping for some solidity in the top order, while Mohammad Hafeez has been added after being dropped earlier in the year. Veteran all-rounder Shahid Afridi is also in the squad.

<b>Key Men</b><br>For the hosts, skipper Angelo Mathews is definitely the key man, given his incredible form with the bat this year, as well as his effective medium pace. He has rocketed up to third on the Test batting rankings, hasn't been out for single figures in his last 12 ODIs.

Pakistan will look to Younis Khan for their runs, given he was their second-best run getter in the Tests (Sarfraz Ahmed is not in this squad) and has the experience to counteract the Sri Lanka spinners. Will he score quickly enough though?

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2014 Asia Cup: Sri Lanka won by 5 wickets in Dambulla<br>2014 Asia Cup: Sri Lanka won by 12 runs in Fatullah<br>2013 Fifth ODI: Sri Lanka won by 2 wickets in Abu Dhabi<br>2013 Fourth ODI: Pakistan won by 8 wickets in Abu Dhabi<br>2013 Third ODI: Pakistan won by 113 runs in Sharjah

<b>Squads</b><br><i>Sri Lanka:</i> Angelo Mathews (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardena, Dinesh Chandimal, Ashan Priyanjan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Rangana Herath, Seekuge Prasanna, Suraj Randiv, Thisara Perera

<i>Pakistan:</i> Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Sohaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Anwar Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Talha, Wahab Riaz, Zulfiqar Babar, Mohammad Irfan

<b>Fixtures</b><br>First ODI: 23 August in Hambantota<br>Second ODI: 27 August in Colombo (RPS)<br>Third ODI: 30 August in Dambulla

Latest