Pakistan and Sri Lanka take on each other in the five-match ODI series with an eye on improving their ICC ODI rankings. The series gets underway from Thursday in Pallekele, after the teams settled to a 1-1 score in the T20s.
The visitors will be led on to the field by Misbah ul Haq after Mohammad Hafeez made his debut as captain in the shortest format. Amongst a list of wholesale changes to the squad, Misbah will be hoping to inspire his team to another triumph following their 4-1 victory against Sri Lanka last year in UAE.
Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq have been added to boost the middle-order with Umar Akmal continuing to remain unpredictable. However, Akmal made his debut in Sri Lanka three years ago and scored his maiden ton.
Shahid Afridi is likely to have a key role with Saeed Ajmal as well on the slow turning tracks. The team management decided to strengthen the bowling department by retaining Sohail Tanvir who performed well in the T20s.
Currently ranked fifth on the ICC ODI Rankings, Sri Lanka will be wary of a dangerous Pakistan side. A loss in the series will see them drop to sixth place, swapping places with Pakistan while a whitewash over Pakistan will life them into fourth place.
Mahela Jayawardene returns to lead the team after sitting out the second T20 to take rest. Lasith Malinga will be the other crucial weapon back in the side, spearheading the bowling attack. The batting unit looks fairly strong with Kumar Sangakkara set to focus on his batting while leaving the wicket-keeping duties to the young Dinesh Chandimal.
Tillakaratne Dilshan will open the batting while Dilhara Fernando will look to continue his impressive form over the last few months.
The day-night match will start at 2.30pm in Pallekele where Pakistan and Sri Lanka won one match each in last year’s World Cup.