Sri Lanka and Pakistan will use their two-match series in Dubai starting on Wednesday to size each other up ahead of the World Twenty20 in three months’ time.
Pakistan, fourth in the Twenty20 rankings, are also aiming to topple Sri Lanka from the top of the standings by winning both matches, the second of which takes place on Friday.
If the series is a 1-1 draw the teams will maintain their current rankings while a 2-0 loss would bring Hafeez’s team down to fifth. Pakistan go into the matches well prepared after playing four Twenty20 games against South Africa last month.
Pakistan will be at full strength and boosted by the return of off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.
Sri Lanka, led by Dinesh Chandimal, will have to overcome rustiness after most of their recent matches at home were ruined by rain. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara provide a contrast to Pakistan’s fragile and unpredictable batsmen.
Ajantha Mendis and Sachithra Senanayake are the two specialist spinners in the bowling spearheaded by Lasith Malinga.AFP