Resurgent Pakistan eye Sri Lanka scalp
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Pakistan are hoping to build on their impressive record over the past year when they take the field during the full tour of Sri Lanka starting later this week.
"The task here is to win, but the longer goal is to take Pakistan high up in the rankings in all three formats," Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore said at the series launch in Colombo on Monday night.
"It's a simple statement, but it requires a lot of work," he said ahead of the seven-week tour which comprises three Tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 games.
The Pakistanis have come a long way since the spot-fixing scandal in England in 2010 led to unprecedented jail terms for Test captain Salman Butt and premier fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer.
The talented but often unpredictable national team have shown consistent winning form over the last 12 months despite being unable to play at home due to security concerns since an attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.
Pakistan have won seven of their last nine Test matches, including a 3-0 whitewash of top-ranked England in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year.
Their record in limited-overs cricket has been equally impressive, winning 16 of their last 22 one-day games, topped by the Asia Cup title triumph in Bangladesh in March.
The two Twenty20 games in southern Hambantota on Friday and Sunday provide both teams with a useful build-up for the World Twenty20 tournament to be held in Sri Lanka in September-October.
The Sri Lankans have had an inconsistent year in which they managed just two wins in 14 Tests with six defeats, and lost 21 of their last 35 one-day internationals.
Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene praised Pakistan's recent record and saw a good challenge ahead for his home team.