Pakistan Bowlers Carry Threat

  • Last Updated: May 31 2012, 20:35 BST

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene believes his side will need to be wary of Pakistan's bowling department ahead of the first Twenty20 in Hambantota.

Saeed Ajmal: The big danger

After representing Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League, Jayawardene is looking forward to playing international cricket again.

Friday's match marks the start of a series between Sri Lanka and Pakistan that will encompass another Twenty20 at the same venue, five one-day internationals and three Test matches.

Saeed Ajmal is the obvious dangerman for the tourists, the off-spinner was named man of the series against both Sri Lanka and England in the United Arab Emirates.

But Jayawardene has called on his troops to keep their guard up at all times.

"They've got a lot of variety in their bowling armoury," he said on espncricinfo.com.

"What makes them competitive is the sort of bowling options available, apart from the specialists. All in all, it should be a competitive T20 series."

With a game that relies on elegance and not brute strength, Jayawardene is not a stereotypical Twenty20 cricketer.

Even so, he does have an international hundred in the format and is looking to build a decent partnership at the top of the order with Tillakaratne Dilshan ahead of the World Twenty20, which Sri Lanka are hosting this autumn.

And the 35-year-old Jayawardene has made no secret that his side are taking this Twenty20 series with Pakistan plus their one-off match against India very seriously.

"I have enjoyed a fair amount of success as an opener in Twenty20, but my presence at the top depends on the team combination," Jayawardene added.

"Tillakaratne Dilshan and I have built up a decent opening partnership in the last couple of years or so.

"We're trying to be more flexible as well, because going into the World T20, we need to have a good idea on what kind of squad we need.

"We're using these two games, plus the one T20 against India, to find the right combination so we will mix and match.

"This is the start of an important series for us so we need to make a statement."

Pakistan's new Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez is looking forward to a tough series between the two countries.

"We all know that Sri Lanka is always good on their own soil and we are looking forward to a very tough series," Hafeez said at a media conference.

The tourists have every reason to feel confident after beating Sri Lanka in all three formats in the UAE towards the end of last year but coach Dav Whatmore is pleased with his side's preparation for this series.

"Although Pakistan is unable to play any international matches at home due to the security concerns in their country, they managed to practice together before coming to Sri Lanka," he said.

"We had a pretty decent two weeks camp before we came here finishing up with some practices that were attended by conservatively 15,000 people, who were starved of cricket and they just loved them."