Sri Lanka team is faced with a challenge to avoid yet another whitewash, at the hands of Pakistan in the on-going ODI series. Previously, in this calendar year, Sri Lanka were white-washed twice by India and Zimbabwe, astonishingly on their home soil. Sri Lankan bowlers took all the opposition wickets in the second ODI against Zimbabwe that was played at Galle on July 02, however, failed to do the same on nine other occasions in ODI’s against India and Zimbabwe. They are looking good in the seam-bowling group, but their spin-bowling group is not penetrative enough in this ODI series.
Sri Lankan batting unit is performing inconsistent and several players are not in the squad because of the injuries, notable mention is Angelo Mathews, who was ruled out of the second Test against Pakistan in the recent Test series, and is unavailable in the current ODI series. Sri Lankan Test captain Dinesh Chandimal has underperformed in this ODI series and as a senior player in the side, his side is desperately in need of a good performance from him in the last match of the ODI series.
Pakistan is looking well settled now and there is a little chance they will experiment with players in this dead-rubber game. They replaced Rumman Raees with Usman Khan in the fourth ODI and despite him getting only a single wicket he might retain his spot in the team as this might be the right time to try youngster for one more game and giving him some confidence. Pakistan team, in the absence of their premier fast bowler, Muhammad Amir, performed very well in the bowling department. Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan have been providing the Pakistan team with breakthroughs they needed in the crucial moments of the game. They are well complimented by the likes of Muhammad Hafeez and Imad Wasim who have bowled with good economy rates.
Pakistan’s top order batsmen Fakhar Zaman has scored runs in this series, but didn’t reach a single half century. His batting partners on the other hand changed, with Ahmed Shahzad opening in the first two matches and then replaced with Imam-ul-Haq in the third and fourth ODI’s of the current series. Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik are consistent and are scoring runs in almost every match. Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, however, needs to find form and lead from the front.
“The way the boys are performing, I am confident they will whitewash the series, says Pakistan head coach, Micky Arthur”.
Sharjah cricket stadium, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
Sri Lanka: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Upul Tharanga (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Milinda Siriwardana, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Gamage
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed(c)(wk), Imad Wasim/Fahim Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan/Rumman Raees, Junaid Khan