By CricketCountry Staff
Colombo: Jun 18, 2012
Pakistan will look to level series, while Sri Lanka will look to continue their winning momentum lift the trophy going into final ODI Premadasa Stadium, Colombo on Monday.
The visitors looked like the better side in the early part of the tour - the T20 series was shared and the hosts were thumped convincingly in the opening ODI at Pallekele. However, things changed rather quickly from there on as Sri Lanka showed why they're so strong at home, leaving Pakistan in a do or die situation as they go into the final match.
The hosts seemed to have problems with their top order in the first half of the tour but they have addressed that in quick time. Their main players - Dilshan, Sangakkara and captain Mahela Jayawardene have scored some useful runs - Dilshan made a century in the second ODI while Sangakkara missed it by just 3 runs in the fourth.
However, they will be hoping for better contributions from the likes of Tharanga and Chandimal, as the rest of the batting order hasn't made it big yet. Jayawardene has anchored the middle order with a couple of good knocks and will be the key once again if the rest of the batsmen fail.
From 166-2 to 199 all out with as many as five ducks in between, the visitors collapsed in a dramatic fashion and spoilt their chances of a series win in Sri Lanka.
There is now a real danger that Pakistan will undo all the good work done in the last couple of years, as they are showing signs of going back to their bad times. The reasons for their losses in the recent past have been the same that gave them the tag 'unpredictable' - batting collapses - and they need to address it soon.
The opening combination is unstable again, their batsmen are playing rash shots, and to make it worse their best batsmen in the line up - Younis Khan - is terribly out of form (he has scored only 97 runs in his last 9 ODIs). His poor form has forced changes in the batting order and leaves a huge void in the middle order, in turn putting more pressure on captain Misbah and the other top order batsmen. With time running out and calls for his head growing stronger by the day, Younis has to come up with a special performance in the final ODI to silence his critics and justify his place.
Sri Lanka Mahela Jayawardene (c), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Dinesh Chandimal, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Thissara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Jeevan Mendis, Lasith Malinga.
Pakistan Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Imran Farhat, Asad Shafiq, Misbah-ul-Haq(c), Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Sarfraz Ahmed(wk), Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami, Sohail Tanvir