Leading the series 2-0, Pakistan are sitting in a commanding position heading into the remaining three matches. The Sri Lankan’s on the other hand look out of their comfort zone, showing not a lot of resilience when the situation of the game depended on it.
Pakistan certainly seem in their element in the U.A.E. at the moment, particularly Babar Azam who continues to shine for the men in green with back-to-back centuries in the series. It appears that the key to his success with the bat in the series so far is patience, both innings have been roughly-around 130 balls for Azam with a strike rate in the 70’s, almost a test cricket approach which can’t be criticized given the results so far. Apart from Ahmed Shehzad being the only notable batsman who is really struggling at the top of the order for runs at the moment, Pakistan have had some decent contributions alongside Babar Azam’s golden run. The entire bowling attack is working extremely well as a unit, something you don’t hear to often but it’s been functioning well enough to get the job done on two separate occasions. Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan have probably been the standout bowlers for Pakistan, but not too far ahead of Rumman Raees and Mohammad Hafeez who have also been extremely economical in the series as well as taking some wickets on the side. It appears that the hosts just have far to much experience on these types of surfaces compared to Sri Lanka who haven’t looked comfortable since arriving, Pakistan have picked up far too many wickets for next to nothing which hasn’t helped either. With so much variety in their batting order, Pakistan’s scoring potential dramatically outweighs Sri Lanka’s (especially on home soil), Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik are amongst the top run scorers frequently and all have incredibly high ceilings in terms of scoring, while Sarfraz Ahmed remains a threatening wicketkeeper-batsman down the order.
Sri Lanka have shown very-little intent in the series so far, they were comprehensively outplayed in the first match and managed to fall short of a fairly-gettable total in the second. We won’t play the blame-game, simply because the entire team needs to lift performance wise if they wish to have any sort of success in this tour. Apart from a Lahiru Thirimanne half-century in the first ODI and a captains knock from Upul Tharanga who notched up an impressive 112 in the second game, Sri Lanka’s batting has been deplorable. Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal has had a horrific start to the series, along with Milinda Siriwardana and Niroshan Dickwella who haven’t offered a whole lot either. Consistency seems to be non-existent in this team, they have some very capable players who have delivered some outstanding individual efforts in recent times, but they seem to be struggling with these U.A.E. conditions. Batting aside, Sri Lanka’s bowling was very impressive in the second ODI with Lahiru Gamage starring with the ball as the 29-year-old seamer picked up 4/57, accompanied by Thisara Perera (2/34) who also bowled with good control with effectiveness. I feel that Suranga Lakmal has lead the attack really well in the first two matches, keeping his figures economical while taking some wickets in the process, he just needs continued-support from his teammates if the visitors are to have any chance of stealing a win. So, heading into this all-important third ODI, Sri Lanka need a significant improvement in their batting department and more of the same from the bowlers who have done a brilliant job so far.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Pakistan | 3rd ODI | Abu Dhabi
- Hasan Ali
- Babar Azam
- Mohammad Hafeez
- Shoaib Malik
- Shadab Khan
Top 5 fantasy picks | Sri Lanka | 3rd ODI | Abu Dhabi
- Upul Tharanga
- Suranga Lakmal
- Thisara Perera
- Lahiru Thirimanne
- Lahiru Gamage
Team News | Pakistan
A shaky start to the series for Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad has put some added pressure on the 25-year-old to perform, the only thing saving him is that they haven’t got a replacement opener in the squad unless they push Mohammad Hafeez up the order. Imad Wasim hasn’t bowled a lot in the series so far and could be in danger of losing his spot if Pakistan decide to give Faheem Ashraf a game, but that seems unlikely this early in the series with Wasim being the priority in that position.
Pakistan (possible) – 1. Fakhar Zaman 2. Ahmed Shehzad 3. Babar Azam 4. Mohammad Hafeez 5. Shoaib Malik 6. Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk) 7. Imad Wasim 8. Shadab Khan 9. Hasan Ali 10. Rumman Raees 11. Junaid Khan.
Team News | Sri Lanka
Both Kusal Mendis and Milinda Siriwardana are treading on thin ice in terms of holding their spot in the eleven, you’d expect Dinesh Chandimal to hold his spot in the side despite his poor first two matches as well. Sri Lanka might decide to bring in Chamara Kapugedera in place of one of the two out of form batsmen mentioned above, most likely at the expense of Siriwardana. They might also opt for some firepower down the order with Seekkuge Prasanna who is also a handy leg-spinner with the ball, they have various options if they decide to tweak their starting XI.
Sri Lanka (possible) – 1. Niroshan Dickwella (wk) 2. Upul Tharanga (c) 3. Kusal Mendis 4. Lahiru Thirimanne 5. Dinesh Chandimal 6. Milinda Siriwardana/Chamara Kapugedera 7. Thisara Perera 8. Akila Dananjaya/Seekkuge Prasanna 9. Jeffrey Vandersay 10. Suranga Lakmal 11. Lahiru Gamage.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.