Sri Lanka Vs Pakistan, 1st ODI - The build up to a humdinger
International cricket finally returns to Pakistan. Where India and Australia fear to tread the brave Lankans will fearlessly traverse. Sri Lanka have not given in to the worries brought about by terror attacks and suicide bombs. Every Sri Lankan knows all too well the effects of terrorism. At the height of Tamil Tiger terrorism in the 90's many nations abandoned the shores of Sri Lanka - local fans were deprived of the sport for years. So as a nation of cricket lovers we so rightfuly honoured our commitment to Pakistan.
I am not a Pakistani therefore I can't even begin to fathom the excitement brewing amongst cricket lovers in Pakistan. You don't however need to be Pakistani to know that there is a humdinger of a match on the cards today.
Sri Lanka's batsman have been on vacation over the last several months - let's hope they come to the party today. In the Asia cup final the Lankan batting order collapsed and it was revived thanks to Sanath Jayasuriya. But we know Sanath is in poor form with the bat of late - the rest must contribute to avoid embarrassment.
Pakistan are upbeat and refreshed. They intend on knocking the Lankans over with pace. Expect the wickets to be fast and bouncy. Akthar is back, Gul had a good run playing for South Australia, but it's Tanvir who will do the most damage. Kumar is vulnerable to the ball nipping into him and Mahela to the ball leaving him. Tanvir will exploit those Grey areas - and ask questions of the techniques of Kapugedera and Dilshan.
On the subject of TM Dilshan; He had a good 2nd test against Bangladesh on a flat track and an easy paced bowling attack. Things will be different in Pakistan, shoving him up the order to open as Ashantha De Mel wants may not be the best option. Dropping young players like Udawatte and Tharanga is the worst possible move. Has anyone forgotten the 2011 world cup is on the horizon?
All eyes are on Ajantha Mendis. Pakistan will do well to approach him with caution, but one feels the Pak batsmen will attack mendis from the word go. Pakistan will look to demoralise the spinner early in the series. It will be a keen tussle Pakistan Vs Mendis.
I also look forward to Akthar Vs Jayasuriya. This is another mind blowing match up which Jayasuriya has dominated on many occasions.
Game on boys...Game on...