Sri Lanka will hope to keep Pakistan in check © AFP
Sri Lanka will hope to keep Pakistan in check © AFP

Sri Lanka and Pakistan will lock horn in the third One-Day International (ODI) at Colombo on Wednesday. The five-match series is currently leveled at 1-1, so in the context of the series this game is going to be very important. Hosts Sri Lanka will be confident after their victory in the last match, but the unpredictability of Pakistan won’t allow them to relax. The new look batting line-up of Sri Lanka came out with a brilliant show in the second ODI and chased down a stiff target. The Kusal Perara show was the main attraction in that run chase. The Sri Lankan fans will be expecting similar sort of performance form him on Wednesday. The Pakistani bowlers will have a better game plan against him. READ: Azhar Ali’s ODI captaincy to be tested against Sri Lanka

So, it will be interesting to see whether he can repeat that or not. Apart from him, the hosts will be looking towards the likes of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal to come good with bat. The bowling of Sri Lanka looked bit fragile in the last two games. They need a better show from the bowlers to contain the strong Pakistan batting. READ: Kusal Perera finally delivers on promise with second-fastest ODI half-century against

For the visitors the one-year ban of Mohammad Hafeez’s off-spin is a huge setback. His bowling kept the Sri Lankan batters in check in this series. So as back-up Pakistan team management look to include spinning all-rounder Imad Wasim into the playing XI. READ: Mohammad Hafeez banned from bowling for 1 year

In the last match, Pakistan failed to seal the key moments of the game and lost a close game. They would not like to repeat those mistakes in this game. Their batting will rally around the likes of skipper Azhar Ali, Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed. Azhar is just 12 runs away from 1000 ODI runs, it will be a nice little achievement form him. For Pakistan, a win in this game is also needed to keep their Champions Trophy 2017 hopes alive. A loss here will significantly decrease their chances, so the visitors just can’t afford to lose on Wednesday.

Squads:

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (c), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusa lPerera, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Milinda Siriwardana, AshanPriyanjan, NuwanPradeep, ThisaraPerera, SurangaLakmal, Lasith Malinga, Sachithra Senanayake, Seekuge Prasanna, Sachith Pathiran.

Pakistan: Azhar Ali (c), Mukhtar Ahmed, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Ehsan Adil, Rahat Ali.

Time:14:30 local | 09:00 GMT | 14.30 IST

(Sandipan Banerjee is a reporter at CricketCountry. Cricket has been the biggest passion for him since his childhood. So, when it came to choosing his career, he chose to turn his passion into his profession. Apart from cricket he likes mountain trekking, river rafting, and photography. His twitter handle is @im_sandipan)