Sri Lanka wins toss, elects to bat in 3rd test
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews won the toss and elected to bat in the third and decisive test against Pakistan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Sri Lanka awarded a first test cap to 31-year-old offspinner Dilruwan Perera in the only change from the team which won the second test by nine wickets to take a 1-0 lead. Perera replaced paceman Nuwan Pradeep.
Pakistan made three changes after struggling to penetrate Sri Lanka’s strong batting lineup with a seam-based attack.
Left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman replaced injured Bilawal Bhatti while fast bowler Mohammad Talha gets his second test after nearly five years, replacing Rahat Ali.
Talha played his only previous test against Sri Lanka in 2009 at Lahore during which gunmen attacked on visitors’ team bus and killed six police officials and a van driver.
Pakistan also dropped Mohammad Hafeez, who scored only one half century in four innings, and brought in Azhar Ali for his first match of the series.
Hafeez forced his way back into the test team after scoring three centuries in Pakistan’s 3-2 win in the one-day series against Sri Lanka last month. However, he struggled against the new ball in test matches and could score only one good knock of unbeaten 80 in the drawn first test at Abu Dhabi.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (captain), Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Prasanna Jayawardene, Dilruwan Perera, Shaminda Eranga, Suranga Lakmal, Rangana Herath.
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Khurram Manzoor, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Abdul Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Talha, Junaid Khan.
Umpires: Richard Kettleborough, England, and Sundaram Ravi, India.
TV Umpire: Bruce Oxenford, Australia. Match Referee: Javagal Srinath, India.