The ODI series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka has been a tough contest with both teams winning one game apiece so far in the best of five ODI series. Hence, the 3rd ODI at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo is going to be crucial.
Pakistan had put up a clinical performance in the first ODI, where they chased Sri Lanka's target with relative ease, and the second ODI saw Sri Lanka chase down Pakistan's total of 287 runs. The second ODI was really close with Sri Lanka chasing down the target with only 11 balls to spare.
The hero of the second ODI was Kusal Perera, who took the attack to the Pakistani bowlers, as he thrashed them all around the park with full authority. Perera scored 68 from 25 balls, providing platform for rest of the batsmen to follow and help the team turn triumphant.
Sri Lanka will be asking the same from the left-hander in the third ODI as well.
Even Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali felt it was difficult to find a way back from Perera's aggressive batting at the top of the order, still the captain remains positive for the remainder of the matches.
"It was tough to come back after the way Kusal Perera batted, but I am proud of my team for fighting back," Wisden India quoted Azhar Ali as saying.
"The series is open and I am confident we will come back strongly in the next game."
With this victory, Sri Lanka will be a confident unit ahead of the 3rd ODI, where they are going to be well supported by the home crowd. Despite the victory, Sri Lanka's middle order has not been able to deliver the goods barring Dinesh Chandimal, who has scored some important runs in both the ODIs.
Players such as Angelo Matthews, Upul Tharanga and Lahiru Thirimanne have been below par. These players need to be consistent as the team no longer possess stalwarts such as Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.
"We are on the right path. It's just that as I always say, we don't have Sangakkara and Mahela, that experience to deal with the pressure. But the boys are handling it pretty well. We saw it in the last game as well ... You have to give players a fair chance," said Angelo Matthews.
But things do not look good in the Pakistan camp as well, for their premier all-rounder Mohammed Hafeez, who has been brilliant in the series, with the ball as well, has been banned for a year from bowling .
It is a huge blow for Pakistan. The onus now falls on Yasir Shah to shoulder the spin department.
Hence, he will be playing as a specialist batsman in the third ODI. Hafeez was instrumental in the first ODI win with his century. The team also depends on Shoaib Mailk, who has looked good so far in the series with the bat, conjuring back-to-back half centuries. Mohammad Rizwan has been decent with the willow as well.
Both the teams are aware of the magnitude of the 3rd ODI as the victorious team increase their chances of winning the ODI series.
Where to Watch Live
Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be at loggerheads once again in the crucial third ODI at R Premadasa Stadium, which is scheduled for 2:30pm local time (2:30pm IST, 10am BST, 7am GMT, 2pm PKT) with live coverage in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka on Ten Cricket and Ten HD. The live streaming option will be available on Tensports.com.
Pakistan viewers will also have the option of streaming the game live on GeoSuperTv.
The US viewers have the option of watching the third ODI live on Willow TV and stream the game on Willow TV Online.