The Sinhalese Sports Club Ground is all set to host Mahela Jayawardene's farewell Test as Sri Lanka aim to give their former skipper a winning send-off in the second Test match against Pakistan starting today.
Jayawardene has racked up 11756 runs in 148 Test appearances at an average of 50.02, featuring 34 centuries and 49 half-centuries.
Sri Lanka Cricket will not be same without the stylish right-hander in the longest version of the game and the Lankan captain Angelo Mathews insisted that the team will try to bid adieu to their mainstay with a win.
"We can't do his service justice with words," Mathews said. "As a team we're very sad he's retiring. The best thing we can do is play well in this match and win it for Mahela. There are so many things we will miss. He is a real fighter.
"If you go into a warm-up match with him, he'll still try to fight and win. That's the kind of character that he is, and he's an unbelievable player. He's not into personal milestones. If you look at Test matches this is going to be his 149th Test.
"He could have played one more Test and retired, if he went for his personal milestones. He's been an unbelievable team man, and he'll do whatever the team wants him to do and bat wherever the team needs him. I'm very happy to have a guy like Mahela in the team."
Pakistan suffered a seven-wicket defeat in the opening match at the Galle International Stadium, and stopping the home side in this emotional match will be difficult. Younus Khan anchored the Pakistan innings in the first innings but they fell miserably in the second and gifted an easy victory to the hosts.
The visitors were not up to the level of playing five-day cricket in last match and with Saeed Ajmal being reported for a suspected action, their confidence would have been further dampened. Ajmal, however, will play in the second match.
"We did play well [in the first Test] but we weren't consistent," Misbah-ul-Haq said. "We played well in patches and lacked the consistency in every department so what we are going to do is to ensure we are on our toes in every session.
"Our batsmen did score runs in the first innings and are still in form and in good shape. There are things that need to be improved and we will ensure that we will go hard to pull this one our way."
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka have been hit by injuries to pacers Shaminda Eranga and Nuwan Pradeep. Eranga has suffered a hip injury, while Pradeep, who would have filled in for him, has hurt his ankle.
Left-hander Kithuruwan Vithanage is also doubtful for the second Test, as he has picked up a finger injury and is likely to be replaced by Lahiru Thirimanne in the playing XI.
Expected lineups: Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dilruwan Perera, Dhammika Prasad, Rangana Herath and Shaminda Eranga.
Pakistan: Khurram Manzoor, Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Abdur Rehman, Mohammad Talha, Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan.
Where to Watch Live
The second Test is scheduled for a 10:00 am local (10:00 am IST, 5:30 am BST) start with live coverage on Ten Cricket and Ten HD in India. Catch ball-by-ball update of the match online HERE. Catch the action live on TV on Ten Sports in Sri Lanka, while viewers can also live stream the action HERE.