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Cricket news - The successful return to Karachi, take two

Sri Lanka are missing a few first-choice players.

It's gone from T to T+2 to T+3, which too is now subject to Karachi's water-pumping capacity. Well, try harder, if there's one thing Pakistan have in abundance ever since they lost their 'home', it's patience, and three days when seen against the 3901 day wait is precisely 0.076 percent longer. That's how insignificant Friday's (September 27) deluge was.

But the deluge, as a deluge, was bad. Three days of unseasonal, incessant showers had left the National Stadium in tatters. The outfield was a lake, the drainage clogged and the groundsmen clearly ill-quipped on supper-soppers and on ideas to clean up even after it stopped raining. So much so that the authorities called it off with nearly four hours to go to squeeze in a 20-over contest.

So nothing's changed in terms of the buildup. It's still a new dawn for a familiar-looking Pakistan, getting into the Misbah-Sarfaraz era, who've been quite conservative (read safe) in their selection, against a Sri Lankan side, who until a week ago would've passed off as Sri Lanka A.

Pakistan are understandably expected to dominate. Their approach with the bat, especially in ODIs, under Waqar Younis and Mickey Arthur has been rather confused between aggression and caution, often going nowhere. With the control back to Misbah-ul-Haq, who in fact made the UAE a fortress with this very confused approach, it'll be interesting to see how the side goes with cricket at home back to being a possibility.

Again, just to emphasize, nobody's really going to remember this result. It's all about the message it sends out.

What: Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI

Where: National Stadium, Karachi

When: Monday, September 30 (3 pm local)

What to expect: Karachi is no Sri Lanka, which means there's only enough sheet to cover the pitch and the square. It's a thin sheet too. So despite the events of Friday being a cool 72 hours in the past and there being no real rain since, there's no doubt that this pitch and the outfield has sucked in plenty of water. That, and nobody really knows how the strip's going to behave. It should be a simple decision at the toss, yes, bowl.

But the playing XIs, either of them, could be anybody's guess.

Squads:

Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed (c), Babar Azam, Abid Ali, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hasnain, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Usman Khan Shinwari, Wahab Riaz

Sri Lanka: Lahiru Thirimanne (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Minod Bhanuka, Angelo Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara

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