Before coming to the island, Pakistan had the dream of overpowering Sri Lanka in the Test series. And guess what, Misbah ul-Haq and co accomplished the feat after nine years.
Now, Pakistan have their eyes set on the ODI series. They require nothing but a win in this series in order to qualify for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, which is supposed to be held in England.
Azhar Ali-led Pakistan will take on Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the three-match series at Dambulla on Saturday. Prior to this ODI series, Pakistan emerged victorious against Zimbabwe at home, but before that they suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of Bangladesh.
So the visitors' form in the 50-over format has seen a lot of ups and downs in the recent times and now they will charge up to register yet another victory against Sri Lanka in the upcoming ODI series.
Pakistan will not have Misbah ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi to back the middle-order. Nor will Sri Lanka have the privilege of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Both the teams will depend on the young players who need to play their best cricket. Wahab Riaz will also be missing the ODI series due to an injury. But Sri Lanka's morale will be boosted with the presence of Lasith Malinga, who is likely to lead the pace attack for the Angelo Mathews-led men in blue.
Pakistan are currently ninth in the ICC ODI rankings and a win with a healthy margin in the series will help them move up a spot. Yasir Shah is likely to take care of the spin department after he was named the man of the series in the Test series. Meanwhile, Sachithra Senanayake will be Sri Lanka's leading off-spinner as Rangana Herath has been left out of the ODI squad for this tour.
The weather will not play a spoilsport as reports suggest. Pacers can expect a bit of seam movement because of the overcast conditions across the island. The spinners will also get turn and bounce if that be the case.
Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Angelo Mathews (C), Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal.
Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali (C), Mohammad Hafeez, Mukhtar Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Yasir Shah, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali.
Where to Watch Live:
The first ODI between Sri Lanka and Pakistan will start at 10am local time (10am IST, 5am BST, 4:30am 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.