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After a long gap of more than four years, international cricket returns to Pakistan with a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka set to begin in Karachi. This tour has been getting a lot of media coverage, especially in Sri Lanka, with most of top Sri Lankan players withdrawing from this tour. The series begins on 27th Septemeber with the first match of the tour to be played at National Stadium, Karachi. Even though it's the Sri Lankan players who have opted out of this team, this series presents an opportunity to the young players of both the sides to excel and make a place for themselves permanently.
Ever since their disappointing performance in the fifty over World Cup, Pakistan have undergone plenty of chops and changes. They now have Misbah Ul Haq as their new coach, who will be looking to imbibe the same calming influence he used to have on the side during his playing days.
Following their poor performance in the world cup, people had anticipated sacking of their skipper - Sarfaraz Khan, but contrary to that, he is leading the side with Babar Azam as the vice-captain.
On-paper, Pakistan have a pretty good batting lineup with the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Imam Ul Haq, and Babar Azam available to bat at the top of the order. Over the years, Pakistan have been known for their superb bowling attack, which is going to be the case yet again. Shaheen Shah Afridi impressed one and all but will be absent owing to the injury he sustained earlier.
They are particularly balanced when it comes to spin department with the likes of Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, and Mohammad Nawaz available. All in all, despite a couple of injury scares, Pakistan have a well-balanced team that has the advantage of playing at home and will not be easy to to get past on Friday.
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Sri Lanka had a remarkably good time after a disappointing World Cup campaign as they rampaged past Bangladesh in a home series just a month ago. Having said that, the team they had in that series is a lot different to the one that is going to be touring Pakistan.
In the absence of stalwarts like Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Matthews, Kusal Perera, to name a few, they basically have a second-string side going to Pakistan. Most of the players do not have the experience of playing anywhere outside Sri Lanka, which could be a deciding factor in the upcoming series. Avishka Fernando and Lahiru Kumara, who have already played a few matches for Sri Lanka will be their key men in the upcoming series.
On top of the inexperienced squad, the injury of their skipper - Lahiru Thirimanne would be a significant cause of concern for the visitors. This will be a massive opportunity for their youngsters who have done particularly well in the domestic circuit, and if they can replicate the same in this series, the home side will have their work cut out.
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While a full-strength Sri Lankan side would have given Pakistan a run for their money, the same might not be the case this time around. Pakistan are going in with their full-strength squad and will be looking to get off to a strong start. Considering the two sides on all accounts, Pakistan are unlikely to have any trouble against this new Sri Lankan unit.
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