Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI: Preview: Challenge for Thirimanne’s vibrant men to fight out a series leveller
The visitors need to sort out their batting issues in order to get over the Men in Green in Karachi.
Prior to the three-match ODI series, the netizens and experts couldn’t have been blamed for thinking that Pakistan will make an absolute mockery of the Sri Lanka team at Karachi’s National Stadium. However, after the washed off game, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Co had to bring forth their A-game in order to get past Lanka, who were never willing to drop the gun even under severe pressure.
Even after getting reduced to 28/5 in a quest to track down 306, Shehan Jayasuriya and Dasun Shanaka didn’t give up. Rather, they put on 177 for the sixth wicket and kept the Pakistan bowlers guessing for around 30 overs. Jayasuriya missed out on his century by a mere four runs and then was given a pat on the back by Dasun Shanaka, the T20I skipper, for his composure in the middle.
On the other hand, for the hosts, Babar Azam inspired the team with his 11th ODI century. The home team will be a tad worried about their bowling in the middle-overs where it was caught off-guard. The third and final ODI will take place on Wednesday, and Sarfaraz Ahmed and Co are expected to get a tough fight from their opponent and hence, can’t afford any complacency.
Batting wasn’t much of a concern for Pakistan. Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq staved off the new ball gracefully. It’s time for them to get a significant score under their belt. The onus will again be on Babar to steady the ship in the middle order. Haris Sohail has shown a matured head as well.
Iftikhar Ahmed can hit the longball and he can be promoted ahead of skipper Sarfaraz. In the bowling department, the left-arm pace trio of Shinwari, Amir and Wahab spewed venom. Imad also did well. Nevertheless, Shadab needs to get his rhythm back as he bowled at an economy of 7.72.
Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & WK), Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari
Lanka may think about bringing in chinaman Lakshan Sandakan as a second specialist spin-bowling option to Hasaranga. The visitors need someone, who can pick wickets and keep down the flow of runs. Jayasuriya gave 48 runs, but the Pakistan batters were pretty comfortable while facing him.
In the batting area, the top-order needs to give Lanka a good start and set the platform for the batsmen down the order. Jayasuriya and Shanaka were the only positives in an otherwise lacklustre Lankan batting show. Avishka Fernando and their skipper Lahiru Thirimanne also got out for ducks.
Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama (wk), Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne (C), Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Pradeep/Lakshan Sandakan
Focus will be on
Shadab Khan (Pakistan)
Shadab Khan didn’t have an auspicious day in Karachi. He picked up two wickets of Shanaka and Hasaranga, but the Lankan batters didn’t find any difficulty while pouncing on him. He bowled short and could never find the right channels. To add to his woes, Sarfaraz missed the stumping chance of his bowling. The threat he poses is pretty much known to all and he’ll look for a better performance.
Isuru Udana (Sri Lanka)
Isuru Udana has always been a handy prospect with the ball in hand for the Lankans. His changes of pace can ruffle any batsmen and the same was seen even in the 2019 World Cup. The left-arm seamer wasn’t at his best in the second ODI. The seamer got one wicket, that came in the penultimate over of the innings. At an economy of 6.66, he was Sri Lanka’s most expensive bowler on the day.
Head to Head
Matches – 155 | Pakistan won – 91 | Sri Lanka won – 58 | Tied- 1 | NR- 5
Matches – 30 | Pakistan won – 17 | Sri Lanka won – 12 | Tied- 0 | NR- 1
118– Runs Fakhar Zaman needs to complete 2,000 ODI runs.
TV – Sony SIX
Online– Sony LIV
Match Timings – 15:00 local time, 15:30 IST (10:00 AM GMT)