Pakistan will look to take pole position to clinch the five-match series when they take on Sri Lanka in the fourth One-Day International (ODI) at the R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.
With the series level 1-1 after the third ODI was washed out, the authorities have been forced to make a provision for reserve days amid rain forecast for the remaining games as well.
This fact also rubbed on former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi who said the forecast played its part in disturbing the momentum.
“It has been disturbing,” said Afridi. “But we can’t let it disturb us and our focus is on improving our performance and especially our fielding.”
This holds true for Pakistan, who will aim to bounce back after a dismal show in the second match followed by a trailer of worse to come in the third.
The tourists’ batting has let them down in the series so far and Afridi, who saved the team from embarrassment in the second Twenty20 before the bowlers made it easy work in the first ODI, said the players were looking to put that behind them.
“The boys obviously want to do well for the team. This is what every player wants to do.
“But for some reason if that doesn’t happen on the field then all they can do is train harder and concentrate more. That’s what they’re doing now and hopefully, the result will show.”
Hafeez, Sami fit to play
Meanwhile, Pakistan will be pleased after deputy captain Mohammad Hafeez, who suffered a minor injury during a training session, has been passed fit for today’s game.
With Mohammad Sami also back in reckoning, the management will need to decide whether to play an extra batsman – Asad Shafiq – or bring back the paceman.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have fewer things to worry about on paper but will need to continue the hard work if they are to end their series-losing jinx against Pakistan.
Their batsmen fired in the second ODI and bowlers proved that hard work did not go to waste. With an upper hand in the little play possible in the next game, Sri Lanka will try and ensure their stranglehold on the Pakistan batsmen is maintained.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2012.
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