Sri Lanka are all set to take on Pakistan in the first Test of the three-match series in Galle on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka will be donning the white jersey for the first time at home since their last Test match at home against Pakistan in 2014.
Pakistan skipper Misbah ul Haq has never won a Test series in Sri Lanka and he would be raring to add that feather to his hat before he retires from the longer format of the game.
As Kumar Sangakkara will only be playing the first two Tests, Misbah ul Haq might feel that they have their best chance ahead of them to win this series. Sangakkara's record against Pakistan in Test matches is remarkable as he has already hit three double centuries against against the men in green.
Sri Lanka announced a 16-man squad a few days ago for the three-match Test series against Pakistan. Jehan Mubarak was recalled in the side after almost eight years and Lahiru Thirimanne too was called back. Rangana Herath would look to lead the spin attack with Dhammika Prasad and Nuwan Pradeep likely to back him up with some pace bowling.
Pakistan announced their Test squad too, but they left out the veteran off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, which was a shock for all the cricket fans as well as the Sri Lankan team. Ahmed Shehzad gets a place in the squad and would look to open the batting alongside Mohammad Hafeez.
Younis Khan, Azhar Ali and Misbah ul Haq will handle the middle order, followed by their wicket keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed and Asad Shafiq. As Galle has had the history of turning wickets, Misbah will likely opt for both the spinners - Zulfiqur Babar and Yasir Shah.
Sri Lanka would look to opt for a similar playing XI like they had in New Zealand back in January. Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne are likely to be at the top of the batting order for Sri Lanka, followed by the veteran Kumar Sangakkara, Thirimanne, Mubarak and skipper Angelo Mathews.
There might be a dilemma for the selectors over Kusal Perera and Mubarak, as both have been brilliant in the domestic seasons. Dinesh Chandimal might be seen behinnd the stumps as the selectors did not opt for Prasanna Jayawardene.
The last time Sri Lanka played a Test match against Pakistan at Galle, Rangana Herath took 48 for six in the final day of the Test match and then the hosts chased it down scripting a memorable victory by seven wickets and a perfect send-off gift for the legendary Mahela Jayawardene.
Sri Lanka have not played any cricket after the ICC World Cup 2015 and they are likely to be a little rusty. Meanwhile, Pakistan played two series, one against Zimbabwe at home and the other against Bangladesh, where they registered a 1-0 victory over the Bangla Tigers in the two-match Test series.
The only thing that might give jitters to the Pakistani skipper Misbah ul Haq is Kumar Sangakkara's staggering average of 80.25 against Pakistan that includes 10 centuries and Rangana Herath's spin bowling, who demolished them the last time when they toured the island.
Sri Lanka: Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews (C), Kusal Perera, 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 first Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan is scheduled for a 10:00 am local time (10am IST, 5:30am BST, 4:30am GMT) start with the live coverage in India and Sri Lanka in 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.