Sri Lanka is scheduled to tour the UAE and Pakistan for two tests, five one-day internationals and three T20 internationals against Pakistan. The tournament will be played across three venues in the UAE - Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai and Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah. Sri Lanka will travel to Pakistan to play the final T20I at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. The test series is set to begin from September 28 which will be followed by the ODI series from October 13 before the T20I series gets underway from October 26.
Read on for team analysis, key players, betting tips and prediction for Pak vs SL test series 2017....
The selectors have drafted opening batsmen Shaan Masood and Sami Aslam into the test squad while leaving out the experienced Mohammad Hafeez who last played a test match in 2016 in England before running into fitness issues. Fast bowlers Mohammad Aamir and Wahab Riaz have also found a place in the side along with spinners Yasir Shah, Mohammad Asghar and Bilal Asif.
Pakistan's batting is going to depend primarily on Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed. Azhar Ali has 14 hundreds and 25 fifties to his name in test cricket. Sarfraz Ahmed hit a couple of fifties in the test series against the West Indies while Babar Azam has been in good form in the limited overs format. Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz will be the pacers to watch out for while Yasir Shah will be the main weapon in the spin attack. Yasir was the leading wicket-taker in the West Indies with 25 test wickets from three matches.
Since 2016, Pakistan have played five test series out of which they have won two and lost as many. After drawing the four-match series 2-2 in England, they defeated the West Indies 2-1 in the UAE before losing to New Zealand and Australia in consecutive series. Pakistan played their most recent test series in the West Indies against the hosts earlier this year which they ended up winning 2-1.
Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Abbas , Bilal Asif, Mir Hamza, Wahab Riaz
Sri Lanka have brought back experienced campaigners Kaushal Silva and Lahiru Thirimanne into the test squad and have also added uncapped batsmen Roshen Silva and Sadeera Samarawickrama. Kusal Perera and Asela Gunaratne are unavailable due to injuries and so is Angelo Mathews who is set to miss at least the first test because of a calf injury. Lahiru Kumara, Malinda Pushpakumara, Dhananjaya de Silva and Dushmantha Chameera are the others to have been omitted.
Dimuth Karunaratne had a good test series against India where he scored the most runs for Sri Lanka. He hit one century and a fifty in that series and he is going to be one of the key batsmen for the side. Dinesh Chandimal and the in-form Niroshan Dickwella are two other batsmen to watch out for. Nuwan Pradeep took the most wickets for Sri Lanka against India and he will be crucial with the new ball. Dilruwan Perera has taken 81 wickets from just 20 tests and he will be the team's main weapon in the spin attack.
Sri Lanka are going through a tough time in test cricket. They have won two, lost two and drawn one of their previous five test series, and the two series that they did win were both played against minnows Zimbabwe. The Lankans could not even win the series against Bangladesh at home and they were just recently hammered in all the three tests against India, also at home.
Dinesh Chandimal (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Rangana Herath, Lakshan Sandakan, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Gamage
Pakistan are hot favorites amongst the bookmakers to win the test series at a very short price of 1.50 with Bet365. Now this doesn't come as a big surprise as the series is being held in the United Arab Emirates where Pakistan have never lost a test series played exclusively in the country. Sri Lanka have won just one of their previous four bilateral test series and that too was a one-off home series against Zimbabwe. They begin as huge underdogs with high odds of 8 on Bet365. A drawn series is at 3.75 with Bet365.
This is the first time that Pakistan will be playing a test series after the retirement of their star players Younus Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq. Sri Lanka have lost a few of their key players like Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera and Asela Gunaratne due to injuries. So there will be some inexperience in both the sides which could spice things up a little bit. However, the Sri Lankans have been dismal in test cricket in recent times and it will be a big challenge for them to overcome Pakistan in the UAE. We predict the hosts to win this test series.
Final Verdict: Back Pakistan to beat Sri Lanka in the test series at 1.50 with Bet365.
#1 Online Cricket Betting Site