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August 8, 2009
Sunday August 9, 2009
Start time 14.30 (09.00 GMT)
Big PictureThe spark has rather disappeared from a tour that during the Test portion delivered a few non-fatal surprises for Sri Lanka, such as Fawad Alam's maiden century, Danish Kaneria's five, and Umar Gul's bursts of reverse. Sri Lanka were utterly dominant in the first three ODIs and their series win has been totally justified. There was no resistance from Pakistan until the fourth game, a dead rubber, in which Umar Akmal treated spectators to a most effortless maiden century and Iftikhar Anjum bounced back with five wickets in no time.
The wheels haven't quite come off for Pakistan, but the nuts have certainly been loosened and the main aim is to continue to regain some lost pride. Sunday's match represents another chance for Pakistan to turn around their short-term fortunes, yet the poor form of their senior players - Mohammad Yousuf and Misbah-ul-Haq in particular - may prompt the management to revert to youth. Intikhab Alam, Pakistan's coach, said the wonderful partnership between Umar and captain Younis Khan gave a lot of confidence to the team for the final ODI and the Twenty20.
It's a shame Sri Lanka and Pakistan don't go into the final ODI with the series level. A tight run-chase under lights at the Premadasa, with the series at stake, would have been a delightful prospect.
Form guide(last five matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka - LWWWW
Pakistan - WLLLW
Watch out for…Malinga Bandara has never been a big turner of the ball but recalled for the fourth ODI, he again displayed why he can be a handful. He mixed googlies with topspinners regularly and relied on a very good line to keep the batsmen watchful. Importantly he tried to make the batsmen come at him, often tossing the ball up generously. Figures of 2 for 40 were a fine return for a man in his comeback game.
Shahid Afridi was not required to do much with the bat in the last game but did pick up a couple wickets with his fast legspin. With this being the last ODI before he is elevated to the captaincy for the one-off Twenty20, Afridi could just pump himself up for a special evening. It just seems far fetched that one of Pakistan's most inconsistent yet match-turning performers won't make an impact come the end of the series.
Team newsIt is perfectly reasonable to expect Pakistan to name an unchanged side from the one which walloped Sri Lanka on Friday, but there may be a recall for Fawad at the expense of one of Yousuf and Misbah. Umar and Anjum took the plaudits for their match-winning hands, while Pakistan will hope Imran Nazir can curb his aggression and find form at the top.
Pakistan: (probable) 1 Kamran Akmal (wk), 2 Imran Nazir, 3 Younis Khan (capt), 4 Mohammad Yousuf, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq/Fawad Alam, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Naved-ul-Hasan, 9 Saeed Ajmal, 10 Mohammad Aamer, 11 Iftikhar Anjum.
Trevor Bayliss, Sri Lanka's coach, said the team will be looking to make a few changes in the last ODI on Sunday in order to give some of the other players a rest. It is foreseeable that Lasith Malinga, who went for 79 in his ten overs without taking a wicket and came in for some harsh treatment from Umar, will be rested. Nuwan Kulasekara could return in his place after a game's rest. Thilan Thushara could also be given a rest, which puts left-arm medium-pacer Isuru Udana in the mix.
Sri Lanka: (probable) 1 Upul Tharanga, 2 Sanath Jayasuriya, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt/wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Chamara Kapugedera, 7 Thilina Kandamby, 8 Thilan Thushara, 9 Malinga Bandara, 10 Isuru Udana/Nuwan Kulasekara, 11 Ajantha Mendis.
Weather and conditionsThe forecast for the fourth ODI was scattered thunderstorms in the evening but there wasn't a drop of rain. The venue is the same so expect the side winning the toss to bat. Chasing under lights has always been very difficult at the Premadasa.
Quotes"Upul [Tharanga] looks like he's getting into the swing of things and getting his confidence back. He is starting to time the ball very nicely. He was strong enough to hit one straight for six."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.