The 3rd and final ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be played today at the National Stadium in Karachi.
Pakistan head into the game being 1-0 up in the series. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 67 runs in the first game courtesy Babar Azam’s century. Usman Shinwari picked up 5 wickets to complete the act. The positives for Sri Lanka were the form and fight back from young Shehan Jayasuria and Dashun Shanaka. Both were involved in a partnership of 177 runs for the 6th wicket. Sri Lanka’s top order, however, has to step up to the plate. The captain, Lahiru Thirimanne, has to lead from the front. Avishka Fernando promises a lot. Cricket fans will be looking forward to his batting talent. Sri Lanka’s pace attack promises a lot. It’s a surprise that they don’t pick the amount of wickets they should pick. Lahiru kumara and Isuru Udana have pace. Isuru Udana is also good at variations and is particularly good at the death. They just need to pick more wickets with the new ball to put pressure on the opposition.
Pakistan will be far from satisfied with their performance in the last game. Fakhar Zaman was not his usual self. Perhaps because he has been short of runs in recent times. Imam-Ul-Haq, although has a very good average, but most of his runs have come against relatively weak attacks. He will have to improve his game and make more impact with his strike rate at the top of the order. Pakistan’s tactics were also found wanting in the last game. Sarfaraz Ahmed should never have come ahead of Iftikhar Ahmed with just 10 overs to go in the innings. Pakistan’s management don’t need to react to media pressure. They should assess the situation and make decisions accordingly.
Iftikhar Ahmed was a big positive for Pakistan from the last game. The number 6 slot has for long been a problem without any solution for Pakistan. Because he has so much experience and is a more than handy off spinner, he gives the much needed balance to the side. Sarfaraz Ahmed will have to make the most of any sort of batting time he gets. Because the pressure is mounting on him.
Team News: Pakistan are expected to make one change to the XI that played the 2nd ODI. Imam-Ul-Haq hasn’t recovered from the injury to his hand. So Abid Ali will replace him. The rest of the squad is expected to be the same.
Sri Lanka have not given any indication of a change to their XI. But looking at their recent history, they have not been able to keep the same XI for consecutive games too often. So Sri Lanka might make changes, particularly to its top order, which was an embarrassment in the last game. The bowling lineup for Sri Lanka looks impressive. They are young so they will learn the art of picking wickets with the new ball. The leg spinner also has talent and if groomed property, could become a star in thr future.