Pakistan strive to keep momentum against Sri Lanka
Sharjah: In-form Pakistan are seeking to build on their recent thrilling one-day triumph in South Africa when they take on dangerous but rusty Sri Lanka in a five-match series starting in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.
Pakistan last month sealed their first-ever ODI series win against the Proteas, beating them 2-1 just weeks after a 4-1 drubbing against the same opposition in the UAE.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, whose side lie sixth in the one-day rankings, two places lower than Sri Lanka, hopes they can build on their success against the South Africans, saying his players thrive under pressure.
"We have good confidence before another tough series and we hope to carry the momentum we gained in South Africa," said Misbah.
"It is the Pakistan team`s quality that they produce better results when they are under pressure. We were under pressure before the South Africa tour and when the confidence is better we play well."
But Misbah warned his side against complacency.
"We must not relax," he said. "Complacency comes when you beat a bigger opponent so we must guard against that because Sri Lanka know these conditions well."
Pakistan will be without lanky paceman Mohammad Irfan -- who stands seven feet one inch (2.15 metres) tall -- after the bowler fractured his hip bone during the Twenty20 series against South Africa last month.
Misbah said his team will be up to the challenge posed by Sri Lanka.
"Sri Lankans are fighters. We need to show our skills and be at our best to beat them," said Misbah.
Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews highlighted Pakistan`s bowling strength.
"Pakistan has got one of the finest bowling attacks in the world. They are a good mixture of fast and spin attack. They can counter-attack at any stage," said Mathews.
Sri Lanka will be missing former captain Mahela Jayawardene and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who both opted out of the one-dayers.
They have been frustrated by a lack of match practice after their drawn three-match ODI series against New Zealand last month was disrupted by rain.
The preceding Twenty20 series between the sides finished all square at 1-1.
The remaining ODIs will be played in Dubai (December 20), Sharjah (December 22) and Abu Dhabi (December 25 and 27).
The one-day series will be followed by three Tests.
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Sharjeel Khan, Ahmed Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Junaid Khan, Anwar Ali, Sohail Tanvir, Bilawal Bhatti.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Ashan Priyanjan, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Sachithra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Seekkuge Prasanna.
Umpires: Johan Cloete (RSA) and Shozab Raza (PAK)
Tv umpire: Richard Illingworth (PAK)
Match referee: David Boon (AUS)