Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Dambulla July 29, 2009

Younis wary of Murali threat

Younis Khan, the Pakistan captain, has said his players will look to play out Muttiah Muralitharan, and not give him too many wickets in the ODI series.

"Murali is a matchwinner for Sri Lanka and everybody knows that if he bowls his ten overs well Sri Lanka will win," Younis said. "We will be working on not giving Murali wickets."

Muralitharan, who returns to the Sri Lanka side after missing the 2-0 victory in the three-Test series through a knee injury, boasts an impressive record against the visitors. He has taken 88 wickets in 60 games against Pakistan at 24.62 and an economy rate of 4.03. At home, the record improves further - an average of 22.78 and an economy rate of 3.64 - with 19 wickets in 13 matches.

Younis said fielding would be a key aspect throughout the five ODIs and one Twenty20 international. "We are aware of Sri Lanka's strength," Younis said. "We must stick to our basics everyday and in every game. Sri Lanka's fielding is fantastic and they have the upper hand in fielding. If we field like we did in the Twenty20 we can provide good competition."

Younis also stressed on the importance of getting off to a winning start in the first ODI in Dambulla on Thursday, and said the team would need to regroup and start afresh after the defeat in the Test series.

"Every day's a different day," Younis said. "We want to forget about the Test series and start anew. We are more motivated because we are again in a 'do and die situation'. Having lost the Test series it would be good for me and for Pakistan if we can leave by winning the ODI and T20. All our boys are very keen to win the ODI series because after the World Twenty20 we had no celebrations, because we straight away came to Sri Lanka."

Younis also welcomed the ICL players back into the international fold and hoped they would "perform well for the country and then for themselves."