Pakistan seek ODI revival in Sri Lanka series

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AFP: With the Test series in the bag, Pakistan will now focus on the one-dayers against Sri Lanka from Saturday that could determine their qualification for the Champions Trophy in 2017.

Misbah-ul Haq’s tourists won the Tests 2-1 by chasing down a target of 377 for the loss of just three wickets after being 13-2 in the decisive final match in Pallekele on Tuesday.

Pakistan achieved the sixth highest successful chase in history through a brilliant unbeaten 171 from Younis Khan, 125 from opener Shan Masood and 59 not out from Misbah.

But none of these batsmen will be seen in action when the five-match one-day series opens in Dambulla – with Misbah having retired from limited-overs cricket and both Younis and Masood not selected.

Top order batsman Azhar Ali will lead the ninth-ranked tourists who need a series win to keep their hopes alive of qualifying for the eight-nation Champions Trophy in England.

“This is obviously a very important series for us and we will make sure we play well and win,” Azhar said. “Most of the players know what to expect in Sri Lanka. We are ready.”

Pakistan have struggled in one-day cricket in recent months after being knocked out by eventual champions and hosts Australia in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Adelaide in March.

Azhar’s men suffered a 3-0 embarrassment at the hands of Bangladesh in April, before beating lowly Zimbabwe 2-0 in their first home series since the 2009 militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore.

New faces in both teams

Pakistan have called up left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, the tallest international cricketer ever at seven feet one inch, who has recovered from a hip injury suffered during the World Cup.

But pace spearhead Wahab Riaz is still sidelined with a hand injury sustained during the Test series, while spinning allrounder Haris Sohail has an injured knee.

The touring squad includes two new batsmen in Mukhtar Ahmed, 22, and Bilal Asif, 29, while batsman-wicketkeeper Umar Akmal and seamer Junaid Khan were not selected.

Sri Lanka, playing their first one-day series since the retirement of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara from the shorter format after the World Cup, are also rebuilding for the future.

The hosts, who were also World Cup quarter-finalists, have included two new allrounders, Milinda Siriwardana and Sachith Pathirana, both of whom bowl left-arm spin.

Sri Lanka’s 15-man squad, led by Test captain Angelo Mathews, includes just six players who took part in the preceding Test series.

The rivals will get their first taste of the new one-day regulations which have no batting powerplay, no compulsory close-in catchers in the opening 10 overs, and allow five fielders outside the circle – instead of four – in the final 10 overs.

The series starts with a day match in Dambulla, followed by day-night games in Pallekele (15 July), Colombo (19, 22 July) and Hambantota (26 July).

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

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Milinda Siriwardana, Ashan Priyanjan, Nuwan Pradeep, Thisara Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Sachithra Senanayake, Seekuge Prasanna, Sachith Pathirana.


Dropped against Sri Lanka, Umar Akmal plays CPL


LAHORE:  After being dropped from Sri Lankan ODI series, Umar Akmal  flies off to play Caribbean Premier League in West Indies.

Umar who was also dropped from only home series in last six years span, over Coach Waqar Younis’ report, had been playing county cricket and Ramadan league before going to Caribbean.

Squash buckling right-handed batsman was reportedly dropped from squad for his absence from coaching camps, held in the country.

Chief selector Haroon Rashid was also quoted saying as “Umar was dropped for his careless attitude. He and other players picked for squad were advised to report to the camp after Ramadan Leagues running in the country. Everybody showed up except for Umar, he kept making excuses.”

 “We don’t want to lose our assets, but he [Umar Akmal] needs to rethink over his career and that how he wants to be treated by Board. He must change his attitude if he wants to serve national team.” He added.

India to play three Tests in Sri Lanka next month

AFP: Virat Kohli’s India will play three Test matches in Sri Lanka next month, the cricket board said on Thursday, marking the final series for the home team’s batting great Kumar Sangakkara.

The Indian team will arrive in Colombo on August 3 and start the tour with a three-day practice match against the Sri Lanka Cricket Chairman’s XI at the Premadasa stadium from 6 August.

The back-to-back Tests will be played in Galle (12-16 August) and two venues in Colombo, the P.Sara Oval (August 20 to 24) and the Sinhalese Sports Club (28 August to 1 September).

The first and second Tests, which will be 37-year-old Sangakkara’s last two matches before he retires, are sandwiched between Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections on 17 August.

Sangakkara, whose 12,305 runs with 38 centuries from 132 Tests are the highest by a current batsman, said last month he will play two Tests each against Pakistan and India in the home season before ending his 15-year career.  

Pakistan won their series 2-1 with a seven-wicket win in Pallekele on Tuesday.

India’s schedule:

n August 6-8: Three-day match at Premadasa stadium, Colombo.

n August 12-16: First Test, Galle.

n August 20-24: Second Test, P. Sara Oval, Colombo.

n August 28-September 1: Third Test, Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo.