After beating Pakistan 2-0 in the recent Test series, Sri Lanka will be looking to take that excellent form into the ODI arena. The first of three scheduled 50-over matches takes place in Hambantota on Saturday.
The home side have impressed in all forms of the game this year with victories in the World T20, the Test series in England and the Asia Cup. A team featuring the likes of Lasith Malinga, Kumar Sangakkara and the in-form Rangana Herath should have too much for the visitors.
Pakistan boast an experienced one-day line-up but haven't played a 50-over international since the Asia Cup final in March.
Read on for an in-depth look at Saturday's opener.
Venue: Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota
Date: 23 August
Start time: 10:00 a.m. local, 5.30 a.m. BST
Weather: After a bright start, heavy showers are forecast, according to BBC Weather, so have your Duckworth-Lewis calculator handy.
Live stream / TV info: Viewers in Pakistan can follow the action via PTV and Ten Sports. In Sri Lanka its on CSN. For UK viewers, tune into Zee Cinema.
The momentum appears to be with Sri Lanka heading into the one-day series with Pakistan. The hosts were comfortable 2-0 winners in the recent Test matches and have lost just four of the 17 ODIs they have played in 2014.
The Sri Lankan selectors have freshened up the squad by recalling spinner Suraj Randiv and opener Upul Tharanga. Dinesh Chandimal's excellent recent form on the A tour to England has also been recognised with a call-up.
After being banned by the ICC over concerns about his action, Sachithra Senanayake misses out. As does Ajantha Mendis, despite being the leading wicket taker in the recent series against South Africa. The spin ranks have been boosted with the addition of leggie Seekkuge Prasanna.
Quite how much Rangana Herath has in the tank after taking 23 wickets in the two Tests against Pakistan remains to be seen.
Being match hardened shouldn't be a problem for Angelo Mathews' men after a string of tough contests against England and then South Africa.
The same cannot be said of the visitors who will be playing their first ODIs since the Asia Cup final defeat to Sri Lanka in March.
There's no shortage of experience in the Pakistani squad, though, with seven of the 16-man party over 30. 40-year-old Misbah-ul-Haq may not have scored a century in his entire ODI career but remains a reassuring presence in the Pakistani middle-order.
As does Younis Khan. At 36, he remains as valuable as ever.
The top order looked in decent order in their warm-up loss to the Sri Lankan Cricket Board XI on Wednesday. Six of the Pakistan's top eight batsmen reached 27 but only Mohammad Hafeez passed fifty. Turning starts into scores will be imperative.
The Pakistani bowling looks a little underdone. Left-arm seamer Junaid Khan performed well in the Test series but is a doubt for the opening one-day match. The Lancashire star was hit on the head by a Dhammika Prasad bouncer in the second Test in Colombo.
The attack has been boosted by the return of Mohammad Irfan, though, who sat out the Test series through injury.
Saeed Ajmal will miss the first two ODIs as he undergoes remedial work on his action in Brisbane after being reported during the Test series with Sri Lanka, per ESPN Cricinfo. In his absence, the spin attack will be led by experienced duo Hafeez and the mercurial Shahid Afridi.
The pressure will be on wicketkeeper Umar Akmal to perform after Sarfraz Ahmed's heroics in the Tests. The 27-year-old scored a century and three fifties in his four most recent innings and will be pressing for a recall to the 50-over team.
Sri Lanka (from): Angelo Mathews (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardena, Dinesh Chandimal, Ashan Priyanjan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Rangana Herath, Seekuge Prasanna, Suraj Randiv, Thisara Perera
Pakistan (from): Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Anwar Ali, Fawad Alam, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Talha, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Sharjeel Khan, Sohaid Maqsood, Umar Akmal (wk), Wahab Riaz, Younis Khan, Zulfiqar Babar
Players to Watch
Rangana Herath dominated the recent Test series, collecting 23 wickets in his two appearances. If the pitch in Hambantota is similar to those in Galle and Colombo he'll be a dangerous proposition.
Kumar Sangakkara is the leading run scorer in ODIs at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium, averaging 78.50. The 36-year-old looked in great touch in the Test series scoring his 10th double century in Galle. Another big score will go a long way to securing a win for the home side.
Runs at the top of the order and wickets from the spinners will be crucial for Pakistani success. Mohammad Hafeez could provide both.
The 33-year-old impressed with bat and ball in Wednesday's warm up, taking four wickets and scoring 54 while opening the batting.
In the unlikely event that there is any pace and bounce in the pitch in Hambantota, Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Irfan should be able to exploit it.
Sri Lanka are in excellent form at present and are likely to have too much for an ageing Pakistani line-up. Especially one that is likely to be a little rusty after not playing a one-day international for over five months.
All stats courtesy of ESPNCricinfo.com.
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