Cricket Pakistan hope to capitalise on Kumar Sangakkara-less Sri Lanka

Without a series win over Sri Lanka in their previous three contests, Pakistan are hoping the rain can stay away in Pallekele.

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Pakistan hope to capitalise on Kumar Sangakkara-less Sri Lanka play

Pakistan hope to capitalise on Kumar Sangakkara-less Sri Lanka

(Omni Sports)
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Pakistan will seek to take advantage of the absence of retiring Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara ahead of a winner-takes-all third Test in Pallekele.

Sangakkara announced during the second Test in Colombo that he would not play the final match due to his commitments for County Championship side Surrey.

The 37-year-old is revered as one of the greatest batsmen to have played the sport, having amassed 12,305 in the longest format of the game at a superb average of 58.

He will now play two more Tests against India in August before walking away from international cricket and his absence in Pallekele will be a boost to the tourists' hopes of achieving a first series win over Sri Lanka since 2011.

Pakistan romped to a 10-wicket victory in the first Test in Galle, but the hosts bounced back in style in Colombo as a superb first-innings bowling display - led by Dhammika Prasad tearing through the top order and Tharindu Kaushal's five-for " set the tone for a seven-wicket triumph.

That has increased the pressure on Pakistan, who have failed to win their last three series against Sri Lanka - the island nation earning 1-0 and 2-0 series wins either side of a 1-1 draw.

Leg-break spinner Yasir Shah is likely to hold the key for Pakistan.

The 29-year-old has taken 17 wickets in the first two matches at an economy of just 18, including taking a six-for in Sri Lanka's first innings of the second Test.

Shah will look to manipulate the spinning conditions. In nine career Tests, he has already broken into the top 10 in the International Cricket Council's bowlers' rankings and became the fastest Pakistani to 50 Test wickets earlier in the series.

For Sri Lanka, Upul Tharanga is tasked with replacing Sangakkara. The batsman has not played a Test since facing Pakistan in Colombo last year where he made scores of 92 and 45.

Sri Lanka's left-arm orthodox tweaker Rangana Herath has had success on the Pallekele pitch, which has only seen three Tests in its short history - all of which have ended in draws.

While Herath's form this series (two wickets at 109) has been lacking, a return to the aptly named Muthiah Muralidaran International Cricket Stadium could be just the tonic as he has taken 11 wickets in just three innings he has bowled in there.

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