Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Dubai November 17, 2011

Sri Lanka seek to build on fightback

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Match facts

Friday, November 18
Start time 1500 (1100 GMT)

Big Picture

Sri Lanka's first victory on this tour of the UAE would come as a relief for them not merely for the fact that they broke a winless run. The win also marked a return to form for Mahela Jayawardene, whose struggles with the bat this tour have been a setback for a team that is heavily reliant on a core group of experienced batsmen that includes him.

Equally encouraging was the performance of their bowlers, who've collectively fallen short of matching a superior Pakistan attack but have been able to improve their chances with the return of Lasith Malinga for the limited-overs games. The series level 1-1, Sri Lanka have the confidence and the players in form they need to press ahead and put behind them the defeat in the Tests and the capitulation in the first ODI.

Pakistan will be disappointed they were bowled out in 46.3 overs in a chase they could have sealed, thanks to Umar Akmal's own return to form. He made 91 and was looking good in the company of the middle-order batsmen who chipped in with useful contributions, but didn't do enough to secure a win. Abdul Razzaq, Sarfraz Ahmed and Shahid Afridi were set, yet failed to see their team through. Pakistan are still favourites to take this series but Sri Lanka's renewed confidence could make that task significantly tougher.

Form guide

Pakistan: LWWWW
Sri Lanka: WLWLW

Watch out for…

He was once a batting allrounder but the role has reversed for Thisara Perera, who opens the bowling and bats at No.8. His onslaught against Zaheer Khan in the World Cup 2011 final is a reminder that he has much to offer with the bat. He's useful with the ball with his variations in pace. He was included in this series as a replacement for the injured Dhammika Prasad, and will want to seize this opportunity to keep his place. He hasn't started too badly, with an economical 2 for 30 in nine overs in Sri Lanka's win.

Abdul Razzaq has been around for a while, but he's still only 31 and a big all-round asset for Pakistan. In a strong bowling line-up, his role has been limited - his last 10-over spell came in November 2009 and as far as opportunities with the bat are concerned, even more so. Though no one would question his ability, a strong all-round performance remains due. With Shoaib Malik also in the squad, he does face competition.

Team news

Pakistan don't have any compelling reasons to make changes to their side but perhaps they could give Junaid Khan a go, following his impressive show in the Tests.

Pakistan (possible): 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Imran Farhat, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 5 Umar Akmal, 6 Abdul Razzaq, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Aizaz Cheema/Junaid Khan.

Chanaka Welegedera has been drafted into the Sri Lankan squad in place of an injured Suranga Lakmal, who didn't play the previous game. However, it remains to be seen if Welegedara plays tomorrow.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Upul Tharanga, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Mahela Jayawardene, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Jeevan Mendis, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Lasith Malinga, 10 Seekkuge Prasanna, 11 Dilhara Fernando.

Stats and trivia

  • Mahela Jayawardene is 13 runs short of 10,000 runs in ODIs and 46 runs short of reaching the same landmark in Tests. He'll become the ninth batsman to reach that landmark in ODIs.

Quotes


"I think 230-250 would be a par score these days with the new rules."
Mahela Jayawardene on how the new rules have impacted the game

Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo