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Pakistan Square up for Sharjah Showdown

Posted by on Thursday, January 16, 2014, 10:44
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The third and final Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka is set to begin at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium from Thursday. The match provides the last opportunity for Dav Whatmore to redeem his reputation in the longest format of the game, where Pakistan has thus far lost seven out of the 12 matches Whatmore has coached in.

Pakistan Cricket Team

Pakistan Cricket Team

The Australian, who was appointed the coach of the national team after Misbahul Haq’s men whitewashed England in February 2012, has had to contend with poor results in the Test format, with his tenure ending after the Sharjah match.

Sri Lanka has a 1-0 lead going in the final match, with hosts Pakistan having asked for a batsman-friendly pitch for the Test with the hope that the wicket will provide support to the underperforming Saeed Ajmal.

Meanwhile, Misbah wants his team to perform in all areas of the game as they take the field with an aim of squaring the series.

“We have to really put some effort and get the result which we want, to level the series,” said the captain on the eve of the match. “There is no other option for us.

“In my opinion this looks like a good pitch. I think you get some spin on the pitches here and the team which plays better and shows patience will have more chances.

“I think the pitches here are like that, but there are always strange results,” said Misbah, whose team has lost four of their last 13 Tests against Sri Lanka, with only one win and eight draws.

On the other hand, Sri Lanka would hope to seal a second consecutive series win over Pakistan after toppling them in a three-match series in their own backyard in 2012.

Skipper Angelo Mathews said he hoped the pitch will help the spinners.

“It’s not going to be any way close to what we had in Abu Dhabi and Dubai,” said Mathews, who registered his first overseas win as captain in Dubai. “Looks like it’s going to be spin and some reverse swing.

“After the Dubai win we are very confident going into the third Test, but we have to start it all over again.”

Just like Whatmore, the tourists would also be bidding farewell to their coach Graham Ford at the end of the match.

Changes likely in Pakistan team

Pakistan will be forced to bring in a bowler in place of pace man Bilawal Bhatti, who injured his hamstring during the second Test.

He will be replaced either by fast bowler Mohammad Talha or left-armer Abdul Rehman, if Pakistan decide to play with two spinners.

Pakistan are also likely to tinker with their top-order batting with opener Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez – who both failed in Dubai – making way for Shan Masood or Azhar Ali.

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