Pakistan will take on Sri Lanka in the fourth ODI of the five-match series at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Wednesday. The upbeat visitors will look to seal the ODI series as well, as their qualifications for ICC Champions Trophy 2017 is at stake and they will have to beat Sri Lanka by a heavy margin.
In the third ODI, Pakistan showcased brilliant all-round cricket and completely outclassed the Sri Lankan players. Skipper Angelo Mathews claimed to have misread the pitch and blamed it as well for their heavy defeat in the third ODI. Surprisingly, he did not blame the bowlers who bowled in poor areas and conceded more than 300 runs in a good wicket.
The form of Lasith Malinga has been a concern for the Sri Lankan captain. Thisara Perera too adds to the problem. Tillakaratne Dilshan has been finding it difficult to time the ball as well. If Sri Lanka would want to bounce back in this series, then they will have to work on their mistakes they had made previously. Most importantly, their middle-order has to stay put at the crease for a longer period of time in order to stay afloat in this ongoing ODI series.
"You can't have XI new players. I know that this is a transition period, but it has to be a smooth transition. Experience also matters. Younger players learn from the experienced guys. More often than not we think about injecting new blood into the system as well as the need to win. You need to have that correct combination when it comes to youth and experience. We've got a few experienced guys - T M Dilshan is one, Lasith Malinga is one and Upul Tharanga has played quite a lot of one dayers. But all the others haven't played that many games," Mathews told Espn Cricinfo ahead of the fourth ODI against Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Pakistan seems to have identified their missing blocks of their middle order. Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Azhar Ali are finding the sweet spot of the willow quite often to trouble the Lankan bowlers.
Mohammad Hafeez is crucial at the top of the order with the bat and he has been responsible for a number of good opening stands along with Ahmed Shehzad. Rahat Ali has found many ways to trouble the Lankan batsmen and is one of the highest wicket takers in this series.
The weather reports suggest that there are chances of thundershowers in the afternoon and the rain might play a spoilsport on Wednesday. That could push the game into the reserve day, which is Thursday.
Sri Lanka: Kusal Pereira, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Angelo Mathews (C), Thisara Perera / Nuwan Pradeep, Ashan Priyanjan, Sachith Pathirana, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal.
Pakistan: Azhar Ali (C), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Irfan.
Where to Watch Live:
The fourth ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka will start at 1:30pm local time (1:30pm IST, 9am BST, 8am GMT, 1pm PST) 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.
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.