Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Sharjah December 17, 2013

Top order in focus for both teams

88

Match facts

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Start time 1500 local (1100 GMT)

Big picture

If the T20s are an indication where Pakistan and Sri Lanka stand in limited-overs cricket, fans may be in for one of the more absorbing, unpredictable bilateral ties in the year. There was everything from top-order audacity, to spin-induced collapses, outstanding catching and a lower-order resurgence, all delivered with the spark that has defined matches between these sides in recent years.

Already well-matched in Asian conditions, both teams also approach the ODIs in similar states of confidence. Pakistan had been the more match-ready side before the tour began, but Sri Lanka had their top three humming last Friday, and frontline bowlers Lasith Malinga and Sachithra Senanayake have also established form, with four wickets apiece.

For Pakistan, Shahid Afridi has married sense to his savagery with the bat, Saeed Ajmal remained menacing, even as his team-mates fell to pieces in the second match. The top order need look only as far back as the South Africa series to discover good vibes of their own.

How Sri Lanka's top order handles Pakistan's spinners may perhaps go some distance towards determining the outcome of the series. The visitors are missing Mahela Jayawardene, their best batsman in slow conditions, but in Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara, they have two men who have played Ajmal with ease in the past. They are, however, the only pillars in an otherwise unpredictable batting unit. Prolific over the past two years, particularly when batting together, they may have to provide the base for the innings and ease the nerves of the young men who follow.

Pakistan's test will be to see out Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara with the new ball. Despite an overall slip in his cricket, Malinga has recently improved his returns with the new ball, even finding appreciable outswing in the early overs. Kulasekara also found movement in the T20 series, and has wreaked havoc early on this year, albeit in patches. Pakistan's top three are far from settled, but they must discover mettle against the two new balls, or the middle-order will again be required to firefight against a consummate all-round attack.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)
Pakistan: LWWLL


Sri Lanka: WLWWL

In the spotlight

Given Nasir Jamshed has been left out of the one-day squad and Mohammad Hafeez has been increasingly frail with the bat, 24-year-old left-hander Sharjeel Khan may be Pakistan's best bet for an opener in the first match. Sharjeel has never played an ODI, but he had approached his innings in the second T20 with a workable strategy, and made good on his plan calmly, and effectively, despite the imposing stature of the target and the clear lack of direction of more experienced men around him. The opening position has plagued Pakistan for some time, and they will hope Sharjeel can make the place his own in this series.

Ajantha Mendis had once been a feared international man of mystery, but Pakistan blew his cover in 2009, and he has only sporadically troubled international sides since then. Mendis was not in Sri Lanka's original squad for the ODIs, but Rangana Herath's withdrawal has paved his path back in. If he is picked in the XI, he will have a chance to prove he can remain effective in ODIs, even against teams from the subcontinent.

Pitch and conditions

With the match starting at 3 pm, dew is likely to affect the side bowling second, as it has done late in both T20 games. Sri Lanka overcame this disadvantage by posting a mammoth total in the second T20, and if dew forms again, a par score may not be enough for the team batting first.

Team news

Hafeez had been dropped for the last ODI against South Africa, but although Asad Shafiq replaced him in that match, his limited-overs form has been patchy. With Pakistan's young seam bowlers coming apart under intense pressure in the second T20, the hosts may opt to revert to a more experienced attack in the opening encounters of the series.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Sharjeel Khan, 3 Mohammad Hafeez/Asad Shafiq, 4 Sohaib Maqsood, 5 Misbah ul Haq (capt), 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Bilawal Bhatti/Sohail Tanvir, 9 Abdur Rehman, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Junaid Khan

Kusal Perera is certain to open the innings once more, after his stellar hand in the last match, but Sri Lanka's major call will be whether to retain legspinning allrounder Seekkuge Prasanna, who was good with the bat, but expensive with the ball. There are two young batsmen in the squad, seeking their ODI debuts as well, but they are unlikely to play in the first match, given how much batting inexperience abounds in the XI.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Kusal Perera 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Angelo Mathews (capt), 6 Lahiru Thirimanne, 7 Thisara Perera 8 Seekkuge Prasanna/Ajantha Mendis, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Sachithra Senanayake, 11 Lasith Malinga

Stats and trivia

  • Since 2000, Pakistan have won 28 ODIs between the two teams, and Sri Lanka have won 26
  • Since July, Sangakkara and Dilshan have put up three century stands and a fifty partnership, in the six times they've come together at the crease

Quote

"It is the Pakistan team's quality that they produce better results when they are under pressure. We were under pressure before the South Africa tour and when the confidence is better we play well."

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq

"When Dilshan is at the other end, the bowlers are always under pressure, because they are trying to avoid areas where he scores. That sometimes makes them forget about me and they come a little easier at me, allowing me to score in my areas."

Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 18, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    Sharjeel and Maqsood to look out for today from pak perspective.

  • on December 18, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    now...4.30..

  • Ajaz786 on December 18, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    bhatti must be out from plying 11 in this match

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    best of luck PAKISTAN

  • CricIndia208 on December 18, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    Pakistan need to learn from India on how to play Sri Lanka. India thrashes Sri Lanka, whenever and wherever they play them. Pakistan will have to follow the same technique used by India.

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    gd luck both teams...

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    anybody know what time da match start at sri lanka time

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    good luck both teme

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Inshallah may AllAh help BEST OF LUCK PAKISTAN

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    i think if dew comes down tonight batting 2nd will win, if pakistan bat first they should post a big total on board.

  • on December 18, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    Sharjeel and Maqsood to look out for today from pak perspective.

  • on December 18, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    now...4.30..

  • Ajaz786 on December 18, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    bhatti must be out from plying 11 in this match

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    best of luck PAKISTAN

  • CricIndia208 on December 18, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    Pakistan need to learn from India on how to play Sri Lanka. India thrashes Sri Lanka, whenever and wherever they play them. Pakistan will have to follow the same technique used by India.

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    gd luck both teams...

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    anybody know what time da match start at sri lanka time

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    good luck both teme

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Inshallah may AllAh help BEST OF LUCK PAKISTAN

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    i think if dew comes down tonight batting 2nd will win, if pakistan bat first they should post a big total on board.

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    We Pakistani expect good contest between Pak Vs Sl rather than just boring ODI series SA vs ind

  • on December 18, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Pakistan best of luck

  • on December 18, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    @Solid_Snake, You sir are on money, I don't see anyone replying to your arguments, may the worried stay where they are, because Pakistan won't look back. Anyways, good luck to both the teams, gem of a contest this.

  • on December 18, 2013, 9:09 GMT

    well said solid_snake

  • ibrahimkhaleel09 on December 18, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    The pressure to do well against asian countries will indirectly affect pak performance.

  • Solid_Snake on December 18, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    @ asgar.ali:You call 2 wins as Fluke but on the other hand judging the team by 1 T20 match with Afghanistan?What's exhaustion btw..Pakistan won right..Who care if Pak was exhausted or not..And nobody cares we were thrashed in UEA by SA,Fans are jumping up & down simply because those 'TOP 4' were not able to win in SA..& as per your rankings..Look what happened to India in SA..India is far better than Pakistan as you say.Then why was India defeated so badly.When India loses,it's called 'team is struggling'..When Pakistan wins..It's called a 'Fluke'..Why?Pakistan as 5th Ranked team was able to do it...I wonder why those other 'TOP 4' teams could not win in SA by a Fluke from past 2 decades..I wonder why only Pakistan was honored by this FLUKE win

  • yorkslanka on December 18, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    This is a very even series I think. It will basically be the battle between our batsmen and Pakistans bowlers that decides the result. I hope that our middle order of chandi/Mathews/ thirrimanne will stand up and be counted.. I hope that Sri Lanka win but hood luck to our Pakistani brothers too.

  • salman7246 on December 18, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    Perera's innings was like "Once in a BLue moon" . He'll comfortably fail today...

  • on December 18, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    Pak will win today..As it has young blood and using skills effectively..

  • on December 18, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    Seeing the amount of dew, I think it was a wise decision that SLC didn't go forward with Day-night Tests!

  • Messa1 on December 18, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    don't worry everyone SL knows what to expect now, they will win this ODI series without any issue so calm down.

  • on December 18, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    Watch out for Power House Perera's from Sri Lanka. Kusal and Thisara will demolish the Pakistan bowling attack. They will play a major role in bringing success to SL.

  • FiraazFysal on December 18, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    it is going to be a good battle, however due factor also will support chasing team. key factor for our team would be Ajantha Mendis if selected. love to see his bowling.Pakistan openers will fail again on front of Malinga and Kulasekara.

  • on December 18, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    This is going to be a big contest...

  • on December 18, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    God.. What did Anwer Ali to deserve this treatment? So just pick him up, get some good performance from him and then throw him again in the reserve players' list for another 1-2 years?

  • Maqsood_aalam on December 18, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    @Solid_Snake

    2 fluke wins in SA and fans like you are jumping up & down every time everywhere. Remember we were badly thrashed by same opponent in our own den. The opponent was poor in spin department and tracks were different. SL is tough assignment for our cricketers and on 2 wins we can't judge or compare our team with SL or India as these teams are consistent for last many years except 1 or 2 tours where as ours are struggling & struggling badly every where. Even Afghans had exhausted us in only T 20. So We are not even top 4 in ASIA right now.

  • stormy16 on December 18, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    Its the wild men of world cricket against each other, neither side is predicatable and can be both brilliant and poor in the same game and what better than getting in to a series with each other. SL will be looking for some cricket form after long months of doing nothing thanks to the cancellation of three tours this year while Pak will be looking to build on the confidence gained from beating SA away.

    I am not sure why SL is still looking for Mendis as a spinning option as he is no longer effective as he used to be. Sure his history and stats are good but they are no longer valid and I dont see him tricking Pak. With no Mahela its the perfect opporunity for the younger SL batters to make an impression.

  • on December 18, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    My eleven: 1. Ahmad shehzad 2.sharjeel khan 3. Umar akmal 4. Haris sohail 5. Sohaib maqsood 6.misbah ul haq 7.shahid afridi 8. Bilawal bhatti 9.abdur rehman 10. Saeed ajmal 11.junaid khan

  • Solid_Snake on December 18, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    @samincolumbia :Rankings are based on all of these 'MEANINGLESS SERIES' that you are refering to.So one should prepare for WC only and get trashed in all other tournaments right?Only Pak as a subcontinent team was able to win a series in SA.I wonder why SL and India never won a series there.I guess it's because India thinks that it's a 'MEANINGLESS SERIES' & that's why they lost all of their matches with a margin of 140+...Champs got trashed by Zimbabwe as well...Not once or twice..10 times lol..It's not just Pak who lost to Zimbabwe..

  • on December 18, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    Pakistan must play with the following 11: 1 Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Sharjeel Khan, 3 Sohaib Maqsood, 4. Umar akmal 5 Misbah ul Haq (capt), 6 asad shafeeq, 7 hafeez 8Shahid Afridi, 9 Bilawal Bhatti,10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Junaid Khan

  • salman7246 on December 18, 2013, 4:14 GMT

    My Eleven:

    1 Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Sharjeel Khan, 3 Haris Sohail, 4 Umar Akmal, 5 Misbah ul Haq (capt), 6 Sohaib Maqsood, 7 M. Hafeez, 8 Shahid Afridi, 9 Suhail Tanvir, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Junaid Khan

    Hafeez should play down the order adding depth to batting in place of Bilawal Bhatti. He can bat better than bilawal. Pakistan should strengthen their batting hence.

  • samincolumbia on December 18, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    @Surajdon9 - Pak has never won a WC game against India. They also came home embarassed after losing all matches in England in the Champions Trophy. Winning meaningless ODI tournaments mean nothing when they choke for the big games. BTW, didn't they just get trashed by Zimbabwe?

  • on December 18, 2013, 2:27 GMT

    Good luck Pakistan, you can do it!

  • Prema1948 on December 18, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    Ajantha, has nothing to prove here, since he has done enough, more than any other spinner of the Country has done as a youngster. He has still been maintaining same consistency than any henchmen that is being much talked about. His performances under Mahela were quite outstanding though Ajantha has always been given step-motherly treatment by the J&Ps and some senior players in the Team, since 2011WC. Some people didn't want Ajantha to be the No 1 spinner of the Country after the retirement of great Murali, though he has been maintaining same consistency (together with; Senanayake & Malinda Puspakumara) at Domestic scene. They brought Ajantha's confidence to zero level, the time of, when he was riding high in the World scene, being the Man to take 50 International wkts in a minimum of International matches. The J&Ps have adopted to one sole spinner policy (they've always want henchmen to take all the wkts in the match & become leading wkt takers) and asking Ajantha and other2bCNTD

  • Guduji71 on December 18, 2013, 1:03 GMT

    I always make the point that not playing in Pakistan is helping Pakistani Cricket Team. Bec players are getting more exposure to foreign conditions and pitches. I know Pakistanis youngsters are not getting much cricket to watch at home but the telecast of live cricket neutralises the effect. We have seen the results in India last year and South Africa this year. We have won one day series in both countries the SA one was really good. I am not too sure how much it affects financially bec I don't have the figures. The series between PAK & SL should and will be very closely fought. I expect Pakistan to win one day and test series against rusty SL side.

  • on December 18, 2013, 0:59 GMT

    @lallubhai...i really feel sorry for people like you...you feel so sad when pakistan is doing well..but do not worry..we will continue to make you feel worse...

  • on December 18, 2013, 0:43 GMT

    At last located Blade-Runner. Still trying to locate Thilankak! These two always have plenty to say in matches where India are involved; especially when they are struggling. Wish both of them a good time and great success in cricket commentating.

  • attilathecricketer on December 17, 2013, 23:32 GMT

    Just hoping for an Afridi special to match the game in November 2011 at Sharjah which I was lucky enough to see in person but sadly won't this time.

  • chitrali_zaheeruddin on December 17, 2013, 23:14 GMT

    Haris Sohail must play 1st ODI and Mohammad Hafeez should be given long time rest just let prepare him self for T20s only. ODI need a player with good temperament to play long innings, Hafeez Scared of Styn , he may feel that Styn is there in Sri Lankan team.

  • Square-Driver15 on December 17, 2013, 22:55 GMT

    Ahh.. coming fresh from a one-sided (albeit enjoyable) Ashes series on the other part of the world, to a rather more competitive 5-match battle series between to equally matched Asian powerhouses. Putting the importance of the toss aside due to the dew, both teams will be looking to patch up their glaring weaknesses ASAP. While Misbah says that the top order is weak, I feel Shehzad and Sharjeel have what it takes to deliver blistering starts as long as they show their maturity in their temperament to build an innings and not throw away starts. The middle order is the concern for me, which is rather inexperienced other than Misbah. Maqsood and Haris are two key components of the middle order with immense talent as shown by their stats and the former's previous displays, and they should be given the entire series to settle, rather than being dropped after a single failure. Hafeez on the other hand has been expired as a batsman, and should be put to rest as a top order batsman ASAP.

  • t20cric on December 17, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    @Lallubhai: That argument of everyone feeling sorry for Pakistan & therefore letting them win is a weak one. Sure SA might have let Pakistan win (very highly unlikely) but remember that we beat India in India & this is a team who thrashes everyone at home & particularly hate losing to Pakistan more than other teams. Do you really think India, out of all countries, would feel sorry for us & let us win? If you really think that you need a reality check. If Pakistan were to win against SL in SL (cuz SL are our best friends) then your argument may be slightly true (although not so much). By the way which team in the right mind would let Pakistan win a whole series? Sure if Pakistan won only 1 game then the opposition may have had pity on Pakistan but no one likes to lose a whole series at home & therefore no one probably did it. I'm quite surprised that comment of yours even got posted as some of my comments on cric info (much less controversial & no swearing) didn't get posted.

  • saqqi110 on December 17, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    I wish hafeez play all 3 ODIs and score 0 in every matach

  • Herath-UK on December 17, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    Authorities should look into the dew factor very seriously otherwise it will be a case of win the toss & win the match sadly.It was Sri Lanka's exceptional batting that made it possible to win the second T20 otherwise the way Sohail & Ajmal whacking the ball showed how difficult was it to bowl in the evenining.Touring teams will hate these stadia if a remedy is not brought soon. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • on December 17, 2013, 19:50 GMT

    dew factor is the key thing so the team winning toss has a great advantage.

  • on December 17, 2013, 19:04 GMT

    It is going to be good series But SL batsman except Sanga did not shine much in overseas

  • mzm149 on December 17, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    Only one of Afridi and Hafeez should play in the team. Sri Lankans are good players of spin bowling. We don't need more than two spinners against them. Harris Sohail needs to be given chance. They shouldn't play Asad Shafiq because he is a pathetic ODI player.

    1. Shehzad 2. Sharjeel 3. Maqsood 4. Harris 5. Misbah 6. Akmal 7. Hafeez 8. Bhatti 9. Tanvir 10. Ajmal 11. Junaid

  • Zahidsaltin on December 17, 2013, 18:50 GMT

    I would like Hafeez to bat no. 5 or 6. His bowling makes him a must but his batting is a concern.

  • Lallubhai on December 17, 2013, 18:50 GMT

    @ Surajdon 9 . Maybe its a case of everyone feeling sorry for pakistan.Most people feel sorry for orphans and would never play as hard against them, don't be too surprised.

  • on December 17, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    close series .deciding factor will b pak spin attack vs srilankan batting .

  • on December 17, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    I hope Dinesh chandimal will bat really good

  • Stark62 on December 17, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    @ Abu Bakar Siddique "Asad Shafiq has not been proper chance in ODIs", after playing 46 ODI matches with an average of 26.09, tells me has been given far too many chances and does not deserve a place in the squad.

    Also, I hope Misbah gets injured because he is the sole purpose why youngsters weren't being selected in the team, whilst we stuck with the Malik's, Farhat's, Hafeez's (bowling is good but drop down the order), Kamran's (worst keeper), Riaz's, Shafiq's (still in the team) etc.

    Maqsood has payed 5 ODI matches but he has a bigger fan base compared with Misbah, which goes to show how much Misbah is hated because of his negative style and not wanting to give youngsters a chance attitude.

    Lastly, the likes of Haris, Fawad (our best batsman), Babar Azam, Sami Aslam, M. Rizwan etc can fill the void and cast, Misbah back into the abyss.

  • Surajdon9 on December 17, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    Every cricket team is lion at their home grounds.

    India thrashes every body at their home. New zealand is treating west indies these days. Bangladesh even white wash New Zealand in the their home. South Africa behave worst with every team in their homes. England did the same with Australia and India in their homes. And today Australia bring back the Ashes and out class England in their home.

    But . . . . Pakistan is the only Team right now which is defeating every body in their home. They nailed of India previous years in india. They clinch the series in South Africa first time ever. Hats off Pakistan cricket Team

  • kamranpk2000 on December 17, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    Haris Sohail should play all the 5 ODI's. He is a genuine middle order batsman. He is much better then Asad Shafiq, who is not even good at test. and what Rehman is doing in the squad? Fawad Alam or Hasan Raza should replace him. if hafeez wants to play, He should bat at no,6. He is not a top order batsman. good luck greens..

  • t20cric on December 17, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    I hope Pakistan play sensible but attacking cricket against SL. The batsmen should know to slow down against good bowlers (Malinga) unless they bowl bad & attack other bowlers. Pakistan's spin attack is covering the weakness of the seam attack. Pakistan really badly need Mohammad Irfan or Umar Gul back in the team to bowl with Junaid Khan. Pakistan is focusing too much on selecting bowlers who can bat (Tanvir, Wahab, Bilawal, Anwar) that they end up picking guys who don't bowl as well. Having all rounders is nothing bad but their batting talent & bowling talent should be almost equal so they can perform with bat or ball in any given situation.Pakistan will have to get Dilshan & Sanga out quick to win the matches. We need to take about 2-3 wickets in the 1st 10 overs when we bowl & try not to lose any wickets ourselves when we bat during the first 10-15 overs.

  • t20cric on December 17, 2013, 16:50 GMT

    This should be a good, exciting match. SL batting is much like SA where they have 1 really good opener (SL:Dilshan, SA:Amla), 1 young opener (SL:Kusal, SA:de Kock) and 1 very good wicketkeeper batsman (SL:Sangakarra, SA:be Villiers). SO basically if Pakistan get these 3 wickets early SL will lose but if these guys score big then Pakistan lose. Pakistan should be going in to the match with some confidence knowing that there tail is know becoming stronger & likely won't fold that easily.

    My XI: 1.Sharjeel Khan, 2.Ahmed Shehzad, 3.Sohaib Maqsood, 4.Umar Akmal, 5.Misbah-ul-haq, 6.Haris Sohail, 7.Shahid Afridi, 8.Bilawal Bhatti/Anwar Ali, 9.Sohail Tanvir/Abdur Rehman, 10.Saeed Ajmal, 11.Junaid Khan

    There is no space for Shafiq or Hafeez cuz Shafiq is too slow for ODIs & Hafeez is a bad batsman, but Misbah doesn't bowl him much too. Also Afridi is better then Hafeez & there is only room for 1 of them. Pakistan will need to improve fielding to have an edge over SL in ODI series.

  • bouncer1021 on December 17, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    Pakistan will have a hard time without Irfan and Gul.

  • 786Ati on December 17, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal is the difference. Hafeez should be dropped, as he looks a bad influence as shafiq should be in,

  • on December 17, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    I don't know why hafeez will bat at 3. this place should be for maqsood. hafeez at no.6 or 7

  • on December 17, 2013, 15:59 GMT

    This match is actually battle in between SL's top order batting vs Pak''s bowling. I think SL is little ahead of Pakistan though they will playing at Sharjah. Absence of Mahela is a great loss of SL though it give opportunity to young star.

  • on December 17, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    At Engr_Sherry Asad Shafiq has not been proper chance in ODIs he has been given only 2 to 3 matches maximum on continous basis unlike umar amin who got 5 series

  • on December 17, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    Pakistan should play WD 3 fast n ajmal..

  • on December 17, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    For alle the Sri lankan's, You have to be kidding when you say, that the sri lankan team's bowling is better then our's! The SL bowlers couldnt get the last 3 wicket, before the last 2 overs.

    Pakistani batting, is the same as sri lanka's, if the top 3 gets a start, pakistan will win 100%! With Sarjeel Khan, we'll get a good start!

    Bowling - much better then SL!

    Fielding - SL has a better fielding unit.

    A great series coming up

  • Sheerie on December 17, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    Why would you not drop hafeez? The man has nothing to do in the team, he is such a ordinary player. And if they want to play him than it should be in place of afridi batting at nr 6, there should be just one of them because both cant bat that well and are alright bowlers. Maqsood and harris sohail should bat at 3 and 4. They should have include fawad alam in place of shafiq. And in the bowling appartment they have tot rotate with anwar ali and bilawal bhatti, because both have talent but there should be just one of them i think. And misbah i am not a fan of his defensive captain mind, and i hope it will be his last serie as captain because we need to think about 2015 and i dont think misbah is the right man to lead the team. I would prefer a young captain, maybe they can bring azhar ali back in odis and make him captain! He has list a average of 50 and is the captain of his own side in domestic, he can be the george bailey( with much less hitting abbility) of pakistan! All the best pk!

  • Engr_Sherry on December 17, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    Haris Sohail should be given in all 5 matches in place of hafeez (no. 3) as he has best average in FC in current square (even higher than Misbah). So he should b given confidence and chance as much as likes of Nasir Jamsheed, Umer Amin and Asad Shafiq......

  • jerryman on December 17, 2013, 14:18 GMT

    Hopefully SL will continue its attacking brand of cricket . How they handle the spinners should determine the series .. a pity Rangana Herath is missing out as he has a good track record against the Paks..

  • ICCexpert.... on December 17, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    Drop Hafeez, Tanveer and Shafiq.......

  • on December 17, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    Sri Lanka: Malinga will be a problem for Pakistan. SL spin atatck is weak. Unless Mendis do something great. Batting: Kusal, Sanga and Dilshan in good form. middle order is slow with Thirimanna and Mathew. Hope Chandimal will be dropped. Fielding is SL seems better.

  • on December 17, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    Sri lankans are well ahead than pakistn in bowling batting and fielding It proved in last T 20 mach It was not only win but also great win SL have better bating lineup whose were not in last few tournaments but they all got confident at once threatning pkistan sure SL will lead all through serise

  • on December 17, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    there will be no chance of Rehman. You dont need 4 spinners against SL. Bhatti and Anwar gave a bit depth in batting order which is already weak. Tanvir also batted well in 2nd t20 and bowled a bit well in both games. This series will be important for Maqsood as well. After his 2 good innings in 1st 2 games, he has given away starts and almost in similar fashion. The batting form and a bit sensible batting by Afridi is a plus point.

    1- Sharjeel, 2- Ahmed 3- Hafeez 4-Maqsood 5- Misbah 6-Akmal 7-Afridi -

    8-9 any 2 of Bhatti/tanvir/anwar 10- Ajmal 11- Junaid.

  • Marain_Khan on December 17, 2013, 13:38 GMT

    Hafeez should play.He can regain his form while his spin bowling is much better than Rehman.. Plus Anwar in place of Rehman.. No Asad,one blocker(Misbah) is sufficient..

  • ICCexpert.... on December 17, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    Drop Hafeez and play Harris Sohail.

  • xylofon on December 17, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    If Misbah is captain then Hafeez shouldnt play (although Id rather have Hafeez as captain so its more attacking than Misbah type protection) because it gives us the chance to play Haris. I will be watching Misbah carefully, his choices for bowling order never work out.

    Misbah should come at nr 3 right after powerplay or the end of the first pp overs so he doesnt destroy the chances later on. I cant believe they dont get this. Even nr 4 could do. Nr 5 and especially 6 destroys the match, he is not a finisher and he will stay at the crease no matter what the situation requires.

    Other than that Pak should do what they did with Ajmal, show Malinga respect and get 3-4 runs maximum to see him off and target the spinners. Pak batsmen do that one thing well most of the times.

    Hope to see Haris Sohail. And Junaid Khan. Throw in Gul, send Usman home, pat the back and say see you soon, not kick him out.

    Asad Shafiq=TEST cricket. N O T odi. Get it, Jack???

    Missing Jamshed!!

  • on December 17, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    Pakistan lacks a specialist fast bowler to accompany Junaid Khan. Although Bilawal Bhatti/Sohail Tanveer can play good supporting role...the need of a second bowler who can hit 140km/h consistently is desperately needed. No problem with the spin attack. Top Order needs a bit reshuffling...and i wouldn't even mind sending Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad as openers to do a bit of hard hitting stuff.

  • Muttee on December 17, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Anwar hasn't even been mentioned in this article even though I am certain that he will be playing as there is not a single reason he shouldn't be after his performance in the ODIs in South Africa. Also if only we can re-jig the batting order (impossible as our team selection policies are carved in the stone) for Akmal and Misbah to come in at 3 & 4 and Hafeez at 6 after Maqsood then we will have a formidable batting lineup. Hafeez & management needs to realise that he is a good player of spin and not the best against the fast moving ball. He can easily start increasing his average if he starts coming down the order. But alas it just doesn't happen even after so many failures.

  • Crick_Expert on December 17, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    Shoaib Maqsood is a good spin bowler, then why PAK needed Rehman?. Please include any batsman in place of Rehman like Haris S. Anwar Ali.

  • Crick_Expert on December 17, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    PAK will sink again in ODI when both mr. tuktuk(Misbah, Asad Safiq) plays together.

  • Crick_Expert on December 17, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    Anwar Ali should given chance in place of Rehman. He can also bat like as little boom RAZZAK. Please don't waste Asad Safiq talent in ODI/T20, as he is only TEST player.

  • on December 17, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    pak batting first is always better than lanka , and if we talk about the this ground and dew factor, toss will be very much important. not much runs will be scored and team batting first will be thinking to post lots of runs which are not possible bc of the dew factor. so i think pak batting first and what ever runs they are scoring they will defend it. i say pak to win the match 60/40. what ever the odds are.

  • DJyash on December 17, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    I think Srilanka shouldn't play Mendis in this series unless as a replacement ,because we can't predict the toss and if we choose the toss dew will be a factor ,Mendis is more good when he can grip the ball harder and do his mysteries ,so better off with prasanna ,also because if bat first we need to set up a huge total and a handy hitter like prasanna will help the cause

  • sunil332011 on December 17, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    hafeez should not be dropped ......

  • Cricket_Man on December 17, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    I don't think few Pakistani players mentioned in the article would be played tomorrow and that there would be no question of Shafiq replacing Hafeez. Abdur Rehman is a team man but I don't think he will play tomorrow's game. Tanvir batted wel in the last T20l but I don't think he will play tomorrow's game either. I think Pakistan would play the same team (other than Sharjeel replacing Nasir) as it did in the first 2 ODIs in South Africa. The team I think would be played is as follows: 1)Shehzad 2) Sharjeel 3) Hafeez 4) Maqsood 5) Misbah 6) Akmal 7) Afridi 8) Bhatti 9) Anwar Ali 10) Ajmal 11) Junaid Khan. I would love to play the team I mentioned but would even love it more if Hafeez bats at no. 6, Maqsood coming at no.3 and Akmal at no.4. Anwar Ali would be unlucky if he misses out but I don't think Misbah and the management would be unfair with him.. Both him and Bhatti just need to focus on their line and lengths and they would become great assets for the team.

  • Blade-Runner on December 17, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    In all aspects, Sri Lanka are in a commanding position. All batsmen are in form, specially Kusal, Sanga, Dilshan and Mathews are in a red hot form. The bowlers are doing fine. Even though Sanga and Dilshan are fully capable of handling Ajmal easily,other young batmen need to stay away from him. Ajmal can easily create havoc. In the last game, Kusal avoided trying to take Ajmal on, but put the fear of god in other bowlers. That's the best and sensible thing for young batsmen to do. !! see Ajmal off !!! We've got a one weak link. That is Mendis. We need to eradicate it by replacing him with Prasanna who is a OK bowler, a better fielder and a way better batsman than Mendis.

    SL XI : 1) Kusal 2) Dilly 3) King Sanga 4) Mathews 5) Chandimal 6) Thiri 7) Thisara 8 ) Prasanna 9) Kula 10) Sachi 11 ) Slinga.

    LIONS LEAD THE WAY !!!

    (All the best to Pakistan too)

  • on December 17, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Pak Team put a good show in T20 series, Looking forward to the same sort of effort in ODI series, Results doesn't hurt much when we you see that your team is fighting till the last moment.

  • on December 17, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    If we play Sohail Tanvir then we will lose. He is a wayward bowler and I would rather play Anwar Ali because he is a better all rounder than Sohail Tanvir. I think we will win if Misbah gets the combination right this time. I would play 1. Sharjeel 2. Ahmed Shezad 3 Hafeez (One Last Chance, then play Asad if Hafeez fails) 4. Umar Akmal 5. Sohaib Maqsood 6. Misbah 7. Afridi 8. Anwar Ali 9. Bilawal Bhatti 10. Ajmal 11. Junaid. In this exact order. This team will be a success if played thats for sure.

  • on December 17, 2013, 11:31 GMT

    Sri lanka might have the upper hand since pakistans 2 quality fast bowlers Irfan and Gul are out injured.

  • maheshkumar.de on December 17, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    Good luck Srilanka. Malinga (my favorite bowler) will be the key as he is always in any match.

  • Thushaa on December 17, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    Dew factor is Quite ALARMING in this series , which has not been given enough lime light. Especially cause the hot climate in the DayTime, the forming of the Dew is much more in UAE than in most asian countries and team bowling second will have a majour dis-advantage in the UAE. Pitch curator and ground staff should act on this ASAP as this will back-fire and strip the game away from the Dessert nation and PAKISTAN will surely suffer if that happens. Am not sure if other countries will put up with this sort of conditions, as winning the TOSS might determine the result for good in the future, if DEW issue is not addressed by the ground staff..

    Thushaa, INDIA.

  • RaoFarhanPervaiz on December 17, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    Instead of Hafeez... Pak should try Harris Sohail in place of him

    1 Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Sharjeel Khan, 3 Harris Sohail 4 Sohaib Maqsood, 5 Misbah ul Haq (capt), 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Bilawal Bhatti, 9 Abdur Rehman/Anwar, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Junaid Khan

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • RaoFarhanPervaiz on December 17, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    Instead of Hafeez... Pak should try Harris Sohail in place of him

    1 Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Sharjeel Khan, 3 Harris Sohail 4 Sohaib Maqsood, 5 Misbah ul Haq (capt), 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Bilawal Bhatti, 9 Abdur Rehman/Anwar, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Junaid Khan

  • Thushaa on December 17, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    Dew factor is Quite ALARMING in this series , which has not been given enough lime light. Especially cause the hot climate in the DayTime, the forming of the Dew is much more in UAE than in most asian countries and team bowling second will have a majour dis-advantage in the UAE. Pitch curator and ground staff should act on this ASAP as this will back-fire and strip the game away from the Dessert nation and PAKISTAN will surely suffer if that happens. Am not sure if other countries will put up with this sort of conditions, as winning the TOSS might determine the result for good in the future, if DEW issue is not addressed by the ground staff..

    Thushaa, INDIA.

  • maheshkumar.de on December 17, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    Good luck Srilanka. Malinga (my favorite bowler) will be the key as he is always in any match.

  • on December 17, 2013, 11:31 GMT

    Sri lanka might have the upper hand since pakistans 2 quality fast bowlers Irfan and Gul are out injured.

  • on December 17, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    If we play Sohail Tanvir then we will lose. He is a wayward bowler and I would rather play Anwar Ali because he is a better all rounder than Sohail Tanvir. I think we will win if Misbah gets the combination right this time. I would play 1. Sharjeel 2. Ahmed Shezad 3 Hafeez (One Last Chance, then play Asad if Hafeez fails) 4. Umar Akmal 5. Sohaib Maqsood 6. Misbah 7. Afridi 8. Anwar Ali 9. Bilawal Bhatti 10. Ajmal 11. Junaid. In this exact order. This team will be a success if played thats for sure.

  • on December 17, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Pak Team put a good show in T20 series, Looking forward to the same sort of effort in ODI series, Results doesn't hurt much when we you see that your team is fighting till the last moment.

  • Blade-Runner on December 17, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    In all aspects, Sri Lanka are in a commanding position. All batsmen are in form, specially Kusal, Sanga, Dilshan and Mathews are in a red hot form. The bowlers are doing fine. Even though Sanga and Dilshan are fully capable of handling Ajmal easily,other young batmen need to stay away from him. Ajmal can easily create havoc. In the last game, Kusal avoided trying to take Ajmal on, but put the fear of god in other bowlers. That's the best and sensible thing for young batsmen to do. !! see Ajmal off !!! We've got a one weak link. That is Mendis. We need to eradicate it by replacing him with Prasanna who is a OK bowler, a better fielder and a way better batsman than Mendis.

    SL XI : 1) Kusal 2) Dilly 3) King Sanga 4) Mathews 5) Chandimal 6) Thiri 7) Thisara 8 ) Prasanna 9) Kula 10) Sachi 11 ) Slinga.

    LIONS LEAD THE WAY !!!

    (All the best to Pakistan too)

  • Cricket_Man on December 17, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    I don't think few Pakistani players mentioned in the article would be played tomorrow and that there would be no question of Shafiq replacing Hafeez. Abdur Rehman is a team man but I don't think he will play tomorrow's game. Tanvir batted wel in the last T20l but I don't think he will play tomorrow's game either. I think Pakistan would play the same team (other than Sharjeel replacing Nasir) as it did in the first 2 ODIs in South Africa. The team I think would be played is as follows: 1)Shehzad 2) Sharjeel 3) Hafeez 4) Maqsood 5) Misbah 6) Akmal 7) Afridi 8) Bhatti 9) Anwar Ali 10) Ajmal 11) Junaid Khan. I would love to play the team I mentioned but would even love it more if Hafeez bats at no. 6, Maqsood coming at no.3 and Akmal at no.4. Anwar Ali would be unlucky if he misses out but I don't think Misbah and the management would be unfair with him.. Both him and Bhatti just need to focus on their line and lengths and they would become great assets for the team.

  • sunil332011 on December 17, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    hafeez should not be dropped ......

  • DJyash on December 17, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    I think Srilanka shouldn't play Mendis in this series unless as a replacement ,because we can't predict the toss and if we choose the toss dew will be a factor ,Mendis is more good when he can grip the ball harder and do his mysteries ,so better off with prasanna ,also because if bat first we need to set up a huge total and a handy hitter like prasanna will help the cause