Sri Lanka are all set to take on Pakistan in the third Test of the three-match series at Pallekele, Kandy on Friday, 3 July.
Kumar Sangakkara will not be available for the Test match as he had prior commitments with the English County side Surrey. Young pacer Dusmantha Chameera has also been declared unfit for the final Test against Pakistan because of a side strain. Lahiru Gamage has been called up as a back-up for the young pacer.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Hafeez will be missing the third Test as well. He was reported yet again for suspected bowling action and he has to undergo a test on 7 July in Chennai. Shaan Masood is likely to replace the opener. Their pace sensation Wahab Riaz has also suffered an injury during the second Test match and is likely to be on the bench for the third Test against the hosts. Rahat Ali has been called as the replacement for the left-arm pacer.
This means that Pakistan will be forced to make a couple of changes and Sri Lanka at least one. Upul Tharanga will directly take up the number three spot in place of Sangakkara. But they are yet to decide whether they will add an extra pacer in form of Gamage or Nuwan Pradeep or they would go with two spinners (Tharindu Kaushal and Rangana Herath) and two pacers (Dhammika Prasad and Suranga Lakmal). Skipper Angelo Mathews also adds to the pace options.
Sri Lanka will have a bunch of inexperienced players, but they have the potential to outclass Pakistan. Herath's form will be a point of concern for Mathews, but Kaushal has bowled really well during the second Test match at P Sara Oval in Colombo. On the other hand, Pakistan's Yasir Shah has been a revelation in the longer format of the game. They would still believe that they are doing well in the absence of their veteran spinner Saeed Ajmal.
"We have the best chance against Sri Lanka because they are without their big players like Mahela and Sanga. I think we never will get such a chance to beat them here with a series locked at 1-1, as we've never come that close. So we are definitely wanting to win this. That is the only sense in the dressing room.
"We will definitely try to have a result as the way cricket is being played, it always gets you a result. But at the same time it's important to have play for all five days so that it gives you a full chance and allows you to produce a result. In the last two Test matches, we lost a lot of time in between five days and hopefully here in Pallekele, we will have a full five days play uninterrupted," Misbah told Espn Cricinfo.
The weather will be a concern at Kandy as it receives more showers than any other part in the Lankan island. Rain is likely to play a spoilsport in this final Test match of the series. Otherwise this game has all the potential to be a thrilling clash.
Expected Playing XI:
Sri Lanka: Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews (C), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Kusal Perera, Dhammika Prasad, Tharindu Kaushal, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal.
Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (C), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Rahat Ali, Junaid Khan.
Where to Watch Live:
The first day of the second Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Colombo is scheduled for 10am local time (10am IST, 5am BST, 4am GMT) with live coverage in India and Sri Lanka on Ten Cricket and Ten HD. The live streaming option will be available on Tensports.com.
Cricket fans in Pakistan can stream the match live on GeoSuperTv.
Viewers in the US can watch the match live on Willow TV and stream the game on Willow TV Online.