Day 1 of the first Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan was washed out due to rain. Now it will be a four day game with revised conditions.
The match is supposed to start half an hour early on Thursday and on the remaining days, play will resume 15 minutes earlier than the normal scheduled time. The follow-on score has been revised to 150 runs. Usually, the follow-on score is 200 runs in a Test match. The toss is scheduled for 9:15am local time.
Sri Lanka have come into this series with a relatively younger side as they are facing a transition period. Mahela Jayawardene has already retired from the longer format of the international game and Kumar Sangakkara will be following the former soon.
Sangakkara was requested by the former Sri Lanka Cricket selectors and the current skipper of their side Angelo Mathews to play some more Test matches for them. The veteran left-handed bastman had earlier decided that he would retire from all formats of the game post the ICC World Cup (he retired from the ODI and the Twenty20 format after the World Cup).
Lahiru Thirimanne, Tharindu Kaushal and Dimuth Karunaratne form the young bank of cricketers in the current Sri Lankan side. They also have recalled 34-year-old Jehan Mubarak after eight years, but the selectors will find it difficult to choose between Mubarak and Kushal Perera as both of them had a wonderful domestic season.
Meanwhile, Pakistan too have gone for a few younger options. The likes of Zulfiqur Babar and Yasir Shah have been included in the squad for this Test series. They are expected to fill in the big shoes of Saeed Ajmal who was left out. Pakistan skipper Misbah ul Haq is confident that his spinners would do well in this tour.
Earlier, Sri Lanka head coach Marvan Atapattu had opined that the exclusion of Saeed Ajmal could well be a blessing in disguise for the hosts. But skipper Mathews feels that Pakistan still have enough arsenal to challenge them in this series.
"We all know what Ajmal could do, but Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah are extremely good and we need to play really well to score against them. We haven't played them much, though we did play a one-day series with Babar. We've been watching videos of them bowling to the Australians, where they did really well and took a lot of wickets. They're very good bowlers - very accurate, and they get turn," Mathews told Espn Cricinfo.
If the rain gods show some relief, then these two sides will resume their rivalries on Thursday. Pakistan have not won a Test series in this island since 2006 and Misbah ul Haq, who has been the most successful skipper, for his side would like to change that particular record this time. Last time when they were touring Sri Lanka, left-arm off-spinner Rangana Herath took the series away from them single-handedly. Therefore, Pakistan will be wary of Herath who can be a menace for them.
Sri Lanka: Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews (C), Kusal Perera/ Jehan Mubarak, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Dhammika Prasad, Tharindu Kaushal, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Pradeep.
Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (C), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar.
Where to Watch Live:
The second day of the first Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan is scheduled for 9:30am local time (9:30am IST, 5am BST, 4am GMT) start with the 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.