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Posts Tagged ‘dilhara fernando’

After the Test series, Sri Lanka’s first home series win against Pakistan, the two sides move on to ODIs with the tourists looking for revenge. In trying to get their own back, Pakistan will be boosted by the return of ICL exiles Naved-ul-Hasan and Imran Nazir (as well as Abdul Razzaq,back after sitting out the Tests).

After the relative success of both sides in the World Twenty20, the focus shifts to preparation for the World Cup in 2011, but both sides have chosen to focus on experience – whilst Pakistan welcome back their ICL players, Sri Lanka bring back the likes of Thilan Samaraweera. The hosts also enjoy the return of Lasith Malinga (although Dilhara Fernando is available as cover in case the slinger picks up an injury. Meanwhile, the pressure on Mendis to deliver against Pakistan, a side who have played him pretty well, continues to mount amid suggestions that his magic has worn off.

Pakistan will hope that their new opening partnership of Nazir and Kamran Akmal (or whatever other partnership they go for – the squad is as strong as it has been for ages) can deliver, whilst their bowling attack – led by Umar Gul – looks strong as usual. If Shahid Afridi can take his World Twenty20 form into the (slightly) longer form then the tourists have a real chance of victory, but inconsistency (as ever) may prove the largest obstacle to success for Pakistan.

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Tomorrow, Sri Lanka take on India in the first Test of the series. Much of the talk has been about a certain Sri Lankan spinner, and not the usual one.

Sri Lanka will probably need both Mendis and Muralitharan to hit form, as Malinga and Fernando are both injured, meaning that the pace bowling attack looks unlikely to take 20 Indian wickets on its own.

From India’s point of view, this is nevertheless likely to be a difficult series. Aside from the fact that Dhoni will be ‘rested‘, India’s recent record in Sri Lanka isn’t great. Half of the Tests played between these two sides have been drawn, and the figure is even higher if only Tests in Sri Lanka are taken into account. Whether India’s bowling attack is good enough to fight that trend, I cannot say.

The series will also be notable for the trialling of the new umpire referrals. The cricketing world will be watching with interest.

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