Having won the second One-Day International by 67 runs, Pakistan will look to seal the three-match series when they take on Sri Lanka in the final ODI on Wednesday (October 2) at the National Stadium in Karachi. The first ODI between the two sides was washed out but it was bright and clear on Monday and we got a full game. The weather is expected to remain nice and sunny on Wednesday as well.
Babar Azam was in fantastic form in the second ODI and scored his 11th century in this format. He found ample support from Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Sohail and Iftikhar Ahmed before Usman Shinwari took a five-wicket haul to give Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the series.
Pakistan have dominated Sri Lanka over the last couple of years, winning their previous seven meetings. Last time Sri Lanka beat Pakistan was in 2015 when the Angelo Mathews-led side thrashed the Men in Green by 165 runs at Hambantota. Pakistan also completed a 5-0 whitewash over Sri Lanka when the sides met at UAE in their most recent series, in 2017-18.
Ground details and team combination
There wasn’t much spin on offer when Pakistan and Sri Lanka came face to face in the second ODI. They didn’t take too many wickets and were also slightly expensive. Meanwhile, Pakistan pacers looked more productive and caused more trouble to the Sri Lankan batting unit.
There must have been decent amount of moisture in the pitch before the second ODI but with the sun shining bright in the last few days, spinners might find slightly more purchase off the surface. It would be ideal to go with one spin-bowling all-rounder and one frontline spinner.
Newly-appointed Pakistan vice-captain Babar Azam is the most obvious candidate for the captaincy role. Babar looked in great control on Monday and crafted 115 off 105 deliveries, decorated with eight fours and four sixes. He now has more ODI hundreds than any Pakistani apart from Saeed Anwar and Mohammad Yousuf. Babar is only the fifth batsman after Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja to amass over 1000 runs in this format in 2019. He averages over 78 in the nine innings that he has played in coloured clothing in Pakistan.
Imam-ul-Haq: The left-handed opener scored 31 in the second ODI before he was undone by legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga. Imam has been very consistent up the order ever since making his ODI debut. He averages almost 54 in ODIs and has seven centuries and six fifties under his name. Imam is someone who knows how to build his innings and can be a safe option at the top order.
Imad Wasim: He didn’t have a great game on Monday but the 30-year-old all-rounder has been in pretty solid form of late. Imad mostly bats down the order and has slammed 472 runs at an average of 47.20 and strike rate of 131.11 in 2019. Apart from that, Imad has also scalped 13 wickets this year. He is someone who can chip in both the departments and can prove to a handy pick.
Shehan Jayasuriya: Sri Lanka were reduced to 28 for 5 before Jayasuriya added 177 runs with Dasun Shanaka for the sixth wicket. The left-handed batsman looked very comfortable against both pacers and spinners and scored 96 off 109 deliveries. Jayasuriya also sent out 10 overs of offspin in the first innings where he conceded 48 runs. Pakistan have quite a few left-handers in their batting unit and Jayasuriya can turn out to be a viable option.
Suggested FanFight Team
Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Shehan Jayasuriya, Sadeera Samarawickrama (wk), Imad Wasim, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari.