Sri Lanka will have the edge in the series: Malik

January 19th, 2009 - 8:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Jan 19 (IANS) Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik conceded Monday that Sri Lanka will have a slight edge over the home team in a three-match One-day International series beginning at the National Stadium here Tuesday.Speaking at the Trophy unveiling ceremony, Malik said that Sri Lanka has been constantly playing international cricket which is why it would enjoy an edge over Pakistan in the Jan 20-24 series.

He lamented the fact that Pakistan have not played any international cricket in the past several weeks but was quick to add that his players will give their best.

“We are well-prepared for the series and are looking to give a forceful showing,” said the all-rounder. “Sri Lanka will have a slight edge over us but that’s because they have been continuously playing international cricket while we haven’t played many games in recent months,” he said.

Sri Lanka touched down in Karachi just a few days after winning a tri-series in Bangladesh. Pakistan’s last international assignment was in November 2008 when it thrashed the West Indies 3-0 in a one-day series in Abu Dhabi.

It is expected that Pakistan will rely on its strong pace attack in the series but Malik refrained from revealing his plans.

“We will decide about our line-up after taking a look at the pitch,” he said.

Fit-again pacer Shoaib Akhtar is likely to spearhead the Pakistani attack but Malik was non-committal over his inclusion in the playing eleven.

“We are yet to decide our eleven,” he said. “Shoaib is certainly an asset for Pakistan cricket and you will see the difference in him if he plays tomorrow,” he said.

Akhtar, 33, made his return to Pakistan’s ODI squad in November for the Abu Dhabi series but missed all three games because of injury.

Malik said that Pakistan will have to give their best to tackle Sri Lanka. “Sri Lanka is a very good side. They have the best spin attack in the world and we will give their bowlers due respect,” he said. Earlier, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said that he is expecting a close series.

The experienced batsman said his side would have to live up to the challenge to repeat their Asia Cup success achieved here last summer.

Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss said he regards Pakistan as one of the top-four teams in the world.

The day-night series opener is expected to be played on a lively track. It would be followed by another game Wednesday after which the two teams will travel to Lahore for the final game Jan 24.

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