Sri Lanka players celebrate their win in the second T20I
Sri Lanka would look to complete a rare series whitewash when they take on Pakistan in the third and final Twenty20 International at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore today.
Sri Lanka without 10 first-choice players and without their ace fast bowler Lasith Malinga have already sealed the series 2-0 with a match to spare after going down in the ODI series.
They have unearthed new heroes like Bhanuka Rajapaksa and polished some emerging players like Wanindu Hasaranga.
Sri Lanka of course played with the same team in both matches but with the series already sealed they might look to give some of the others an opportunity.
In contrast, Pakistan have gone back to old disappointments - a major source of criticism levelled towards Misbah-ul-Haq which has only been aggravated following Umar Akmal’s consecutive golden ducks coupled with Ahmed Shehzad’s failures.
And most crushingly, they have lost at home against the world number eight and Sri Lanka’s second-string version twice at Lahore.
Pakistan’s bowling was progressively worse from the first T20I to the second while they lost two wickets inside 13 runs in both of their run-chases, leading to underwhelming batting performances.
Coming back to their best rhythm could be as easy as Babar Azam recapturing his magic touch at the top, or Shadab Khan finding his mojo again.
But a win today, in a dead-rubber, wouldn’t be as alleviating as a loss would be damaging.
Pakistan had opted to chase in the first T20I, something which Sri Lanka took a lesson from and batted when they won the toss.
So it’s probably educative of how the pitch slowing down might be a greater factor than the dew.
Pakistan: Babar Azam, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Sarfaraz Ahmed (Captain), Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Nawaz, Usman Shinwari, Fakhar Zaman and Wahab Riaz.
Sri Lanka: Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Shehan Jayasuriya, Isuru Udana, Wanindu Hasaranga, Minod Bhanuka, Lakshan Sandakan, Kasun Rajitha, Nuwan Pradeep, Angelo Perera, Lahiru Madushanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Lahiru Kumara and Oshada Fernando.