Friday, 29 August 2014

Pakistan lock horns with Sri Lanka in series-deciding battle


Pakistan lock horns with Sri Lanka in 

series-deciding battle


Pakistan lock horns with Sri Lanka in  series-deciding battle
Dambulla: Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad (L) shares a light moment with team-mates and officials during a practice session at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium on Friday.—AFP
DAMBULLA: With their eyes on the 2015 World Cup, Sri Lanka face Pakistan in the series-deciding One-day International here at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium on Saturday.
With the three-match rubber level at 1-1, the final match, a day affair, may well bring the best out of both the competing teams as they along with the rest of participating nations seek a gradual build-up for the all-important World Cup, now just around five months away.
After Pakistan chased a tough 276 off 45 overs to win the series opener by four wickets in Hambantota, the hosts made a fine comeback in the second ODI, beating Misbah-ul-Haq and company by 77 runs at the same venue as Angelo Mathews’ men posted a mammoth 310-9.

Ajmal’s return strengthens tourists’ bowling


The concern for Sri Lanka is that their pacers have not been able to perform up to the required level in the series so far.
Veteran bowler and the hosts’ pace spearhead Lasith Malinga has been wayward while Nuwan Kulasekara could not create any significant impact on the Pakistan batsmen either.
It was the spinners who did their job for the Lankans in the second ODI.
Rangana Herath and Seekkuge Pra­sanna emerged with their orthodox spin, claiming wickets at crucial junctures.
As regards batting, openers have left Sri Lanka in a spot of bother as they have faltered in the series so far.
Saeed Ajmal bowls.—Reuters
Saeed Ajmal bowls.—Reuters
However, their middle order looks firm with the likes of warhorses Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara along with ever-improving skipper Mathews.
Pakistan’s middle-order problems continue to trouble them as they have failed miserably in both the ODIs, including Misbah, Umar Akmal, regarded as one of the natural stroke-makers, failed when the youngster was expected to deliver.
The run-rate is definitely a matter of concern for the Pakistan middle order. Expecting young guns Fawad Alam and Sohaib Maqsood to finish the job from precarious situation in every game will definitely be asking too much.
Veteran Younis Khan was not available for the second game as he flew back to Pakistan to attend the funeral of his nephew. Sharjeel Khan stepped in his place and opened the innings along with Shehzad, but failed.
The return of off-spin magician Saeed Ajmal from Australia after undergoing tests on his suspect bowling action will certainly boost Pakistan’s bowling.
Sri Lanka’s veteran batsman Kumar Sangakkara (R) bats in the nets as his team-mate looks on.—AFP
Sri Lanka’s veteran batsman Kumar Sangakkara (R) bats in the nets as his team-mate looks on.—AFP
The tourists definitely missed Ajmal in the first two ODIs. The 36-year-old with 182 ODI wickets in 110 games at an exceptional average of 22.24 will certainly have to deliver on Saturday if Pakistan are to give tough time to the hosts who in his absence scored freely.
Misbah, in fact, said it in the post-match presentation that they missed Ajmal in the kind of the track they played in Hambantota. The pacers have been patchy. Wahab Riaz has been the pick of their seamers. Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan have struggled to get their basics correct.
Teams (from):
SRI LANKA: Angelo Mathews (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Ashan Priyanjan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Rangana Herath, Seekuge Prasanna, Suraj Randiv, Thisara Perera.
PAKISTAN: Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Sohaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Anwar Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Talha, Wahab Riaz, Zulfiqar Babar, Mohammad Irfan.

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