Pakistan and Sri Lanka begin their three-match Test series in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, following a dominant showing from Pakistan in the one-day series. The hosts won the one-day series 3-2 in a topsy-turvy affair.
What: Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Date: Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Start time: 11 a.m. GMT
Live on: PTV Sports (Pakistan), CSN Sports (Sri Lanka)
Weather: Accuweather predicts clear weather for the duration of the game with temperatures reaching around 25 degrees Celsius.
There is nothing quite like Test cricket and after a competitive showing in the limited-overs games, the upcoming three-match Test series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka should be quite enticing.
The hosts are favourites, thanks to their solid record in the UAE with the added advantage of having played Test cricket just a few months ago. In fact, the visitors haven't even played any long-format practice matches, something which could come back to haunt them in this series.
Sri Lanka have not played Tests since March this year and have won just one out of their last five matches. Pakistan have won two and lost three and, although their form can often be unpredictable, there are enough positives for them to head into the series with confidence.
There is no Mohammed Irfan in this series for Pakistan, but Junaid Khan's pace and Umar Gul's swing will stand them in good stead. Sri Lanka's pace attack is juvenile and inexperienced, and although they are boosted by the return of ace spinner Rangana Herath, Pakistan are more than capable of batting against spin.
More good news for the visitors is that Mahela Jayawardene also returns for Sri Lanka after missing out on the limited-overs clashes.
Pakistan hold the advantage in head-to-head clashes. The sides have played 43 Tests against each other and Pakistan have won 16 of those, losing 10 and drawing 17.
While high-scoring draws are often the hallmark of clashes between subcontinental sides, the current Pakistan team has a kind of pizazz to it. They have guts and fight and are a side that can beat anyone on their day.
Prepare for thrills, spills and some exciting Test cricket with some of the most entertaining players the world has to offer on show.
Junaid Khan will have to lead the attack with his left-arm pace. In the 13 Tests he has played, he's already picked up 42 wickets and, although he can be somewhat inconsistent at times, his performances in the ODIs will give him a little bit of a confidence boost. He finished as the top wicket-taker in the series with 13 wickets at an average of 16.07.
Kumar Sangakkara's record against Pakistan is frightening. He averages 89.23 against Pakistan, with nine hundreds and eight fifties, and 86.00 in the UAE. When Sangakkara played in the UAE last year, he scored an unbeaten 199 and 192 in two consecutive matches. The year before that he scored a double hundred and 144 a few games later. Pakistan should be afraid, very afraid.
Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Khurram Manzoor, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Adnan Akmal, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Rahat ali, Mohammad Talha.
Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Prasanna Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Pradeep, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Vishwa Fernando.