Sri Lanka aiming to avenge Pakistan defeat
Sri Lanka will have an early opportunity to avenge their defeat at the hands of Pakistan in the World Twenty20 final when the two teams clash in a T20 international on Wednesday.
Younus Khan's Pakistan stunned favourites Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the final at Lord's in June, sparking massive celebrations in their cricket-obsessed nation.
But the joy was short-lived as Pakistan, touring Sri Lanka a week later, slumped to a 2-0 defeat in the Test series and lost the One-dayers 3-2 against Kumar Sangakkara's rampant home team.
Pakistan salvaged their reputation by winning the last two One-day matches and hope to carry the momentum into Wednesday's clash in which they will be led by flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
Afridi, man of the match in both the semi-final and final of the World Twenty20, was appointed T20 captain after Younus quit the shortest form of the game soon after leading Pakistan to the title.
"It is not important that we lost the Test and One-day series," said Afridi. "This is a new game and we are determined to end the tour on a positive note."
Sangakkara was, however, confident of a good showing by his team, provided the top order batsmen delivered.
"Our bowling always stepped up when we wanted it to," the Sri Lankan captain said. "We have just got to make sure our batting keeps up."
Sri Lanka called up in-form opening batsman Mahela Udawatte to replace Tillakaratne Dilshan, who is still recovering from finger and eye injuries sustained during the third Test last month.
Udawatte is expected to open the innings with swashbuckling veteran Sanath Jayasuriya.
Off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, the world's leading wicket-taker with 770 Test and 511 One-day wickets, will lead the bowling in the absence of experienced seamer Chaminda Vaas.
Vaas, who retired from Test cricket after the Pakistan series, was ignored by the selectors despite saying he will play limited-overs cricket until the 2011 World Cup.
Pakistan (from): Shahid Afridi (capt), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Aamir, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Rao Iftikhar.
Sri Lanka (from): Kumar Sangakkara (capt), Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Mahela Udawatte, Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Kapugedara, Thilina Kandamby, Angelo Matthews, Ajantha Mendis, Malinga Bandara, Nuwan Kulasekera, Lasith Malinga, Isuru Udana, Thilan Thushara.