Sri Lanka undecided on Mahela Udawatte
Callistus Davy reporting from Karachi

Sri Lanka was left undecided on whether or not to deploy opener Mahela Udawatte for today’s Super Four crunch game against Pakistan in the Asia Cup here in Karachi after the left hander entered the run-making fray with a half century against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a qualifying round game.

Udawatte was picked as Sanath Jayasuriya’s opening partner but conceded his place to Kumar Sangakkara in an experiment that worked in the first match against Bangladesh. But in the absence of Jayasuriya, Udawatte partnered Sangakkara and scored 67 against the UAE giving the team management something to work on.

“We are playing against Pakistan and we will have to go in with the best. Who will play or who will open is too premature to say at this moment”, said Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardena. Jayasuriya had a workout with the team at practices yesterday and looked fit enough to play after sitting out the match against the UAE due to a hamstring discomfort.

He is 88 runs away from becoming the first player to reach a 1000 runs in the history of the Asia Cup and is also the leading wicket-taker with 21 scalps. Another player who has nudged the selectors for a place in the playing X1 is allrounder Kaushal Weeraratne who chipped in with a useful 40 when it mattered against the UAE.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan have never featured in a one-day international for the past 12 months after a last meeting in the UAE in May 2007 and a defeat for the latter can push them close to an exit from the tournament.

Sri Lanka won that last match between the two countries to break a string of five wins by Pakistan who for the record has 67 wins as against 39 by Sri Lanka in matches between the two teams.
Already the Pakistanis are without any threatening names in the fast bowling department after Umar Gul suffered a rib cage injury against India and will play no further part in the tournament.

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