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Sri Lanka, Pakistan set for decider in Pallekele

Home side will be without either Sangakkara or Jayawardene for the first time in 15 years

Sri Lanka, Pakistan set for decider in Pallekele - Cricket News
Sri Lanka are without Kumar Sangakkara and Upul Tharanga will take his spot at No. 3 in the batting line-up.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka will face off in the decisive third and final Test in Pallekele from Friday (July 3), with the series tied at 1-1.
Pakistan won the first Test by ten wickets in Galle and Sri Lanka responded with a seven-wicket victory in the second match at the P Sara Oval in Colombo.

This will mark the first time in 15 years since Kumar Sangakkara’s debut in July 2000 that Sri Lanka goes into a Test match without either him or the retired Mahela Jayawardene in the playing XI. Sangakkara is the leading run-getter in Test cricket amongst active players, with 12,305 runs from 132 matches at an outstanding average of 58.04. He will play just two more Tests against India in August before retiring. Jaywardene retired from Tests a year ago.
Angelo Mathews will thus lead a young and relatively inexperienced batting unit for this match. Mathews, the captain, has 48 Test appearances, while none of the other frontline batsmen has played more than 20 matches. Upul Tharanga, 30, played the last of his 19 Tests a year ago, and will take Sangakkara’s spot at No.3 in the batting line-up.

The pitch at the Pallekele stadium has a tinge of green, and could favour seamers on the first day. However, the Sri Lanka side is still uncertain about the fitness of Dushmantha Chameera, who suffered a side strain on his debut in the second Test. The fast bowler took four wickets in the victory in Colombo.
Lahiru Thirimanne, the Sri Lanka vice-captain, said the team could go with an attack consisting of three seamers and one spinner, considering the conditions. "It's a good pitch for batting, but it does help the fast bowlers at the start," said Thirimanne. "We may play three seamers and just one spinner."

Mathews, meanwhile, said it would be a strange feeling to walk onto the field without either of Sangakkara or Jayawardene. "It’s obviously going to be difficult to fill Mahela and Sanga’s shoes," he said. "It's a strange experience to be without Mahela and Sanga, but we have some good young players who are ready to step in."

Pakistan will also have some changes to its side with Wahab Riaz, the pace spearhead, ruled out because of an injury suffered while batting in the first innings of the second Test, and Mohammad Hafeez unavailable.
Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, said the team management was keeping all options open and had not yet crystallised on the XI. Among the possible replacements for Riaz and Hafeez are Rahat Ali, the left-arm seamer, and Shan Masood, the left-hand batsman.

Misbah pointed to how Sri Lanka had turned its fortunes around after losing the first Test, bouncing back to win the second, and said his side would aim to do the same. Pakistan’s primary strike bowler through the series has been Yasir Shah, the legspinner who has 17 wickets so far, the most in the series on either side.
After the conclusion of this Test, the teams will play a five-match One-Day International series followed by two Twenty20 Internationals.

Teams (from):

Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Azhar Ali, Ahmed Shehzad, Shan Masood, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Junaid Khan, Imran Khan, Ehsan Adil, Rahat Ali.

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Kithruwan Vithanage, Jehan Mubarak, Kusal Perera, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Tharindu Kaushal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhammika Prasad, Dushmantha Chameera, Suranga Lakmal.

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