Pakistan’s one-day international series against Sri Lanka arrives in Abu Dhabi, with the hosts 2-1 ahead as they enter the fourth ODI at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Date: Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Start time: 11:00 a.m. GMT
Live on: PTV Sports (Pakistan), CSN Sports (Sri Lanka)
Weather: According to Accuweather, Abu Dhabi should be sunny but not too warm, with highs reaching 22 degrees Celsius.
It has been a topsy-turvy series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka so far, and the hosts are once again in the lead after a comfortable 115-run win in Sharjah in the last match.
Pakistan batted first and made 326-5 from their 50 overs, continuing their successful plan of sensible batting at the beginning before increasing the run rate in the final overs.
The team's star was Mohammad Hafeez, who scored 140 from 136 balls in what was his highest ever ODI score.
None of Sri Lanka’s bowlers managed an economy rate of under five runs an over, with Thisara Perera the most successful as he took 2-58 from eight overs.
In reply, Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals as they struggled to cope with the returning Umar Gul.
Gul, back in the side after nine months out with a knee problem, took 3-19 in 5.4 overs to prevent the visitors from gathering any momentum in their chase.
The win was the largest margin of victory for either side in the series, and it means the hosts will have the momentum going into the next two matches in Abu Dhabi.
That win for Sri Lanka was by 115 runs in 2007, and although that was not enough to prevent Pakistan from winning the series that year, the tourists will need another similar showing to ensure they remain in this year’s contest.
Pakistan (from): Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Sharjeel Khan, Ahmed Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Junaid Khan, Anwar Ali, Sohail Tanvir, Bilawal Bhatti
Sri Lanka (from): Angelo Mathews (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Ashan Priyanjan, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Seekkuge Prasanna
Umar Gul made a triumphant return to international cricket in the third ODI and will be desperate to make up for lost time in the rest of the series.
After nine months out with a knee injury, Gul is finally back in Pakistan’s colours and will be crucial with the new ball in his hand.
Tillakaratne Dilshan top-scored for Sri Lanka last time out despite their defeat, and will once again be relied upon to guide their batting effort in this game.
With his aggressive style at the top of the order, the onus is on the highly experienced former captain to help his side build a platform so they can level the series.