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First Test: Pakistan v Sri Lanka preview

The skippers with the trophy up for grabs in the Test series

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Sri Lanka's captain Angelo Mathews is concerned that his squad may be 'a little off the pace' when they begin their three-Test series against Pakistan on Tuesday.

The teams come face-to-face in the United Arab Emirates, with the first meeting taking place in Abu Dhabi.

Sri Lanka have not had a Test match since taking on Bangladesh in March and Matthews said: "We've played some four-day cricket before we left Dubai, and we had some match-practice there, but it's not as good as playing a Test match.

"There will be a bit of rustiness but that's the challenge of adjusting from ODI cricket to Test cricket as soon as possible. That will be the main challenge for us."

"There will be a bit of rustiness but that's the challenge of adjusting from ODI cricket to Test cricket as soon as possible. That will be the main challenge for us."

Angelo Mathews

Mathews expects the wicket in Abu Dhabi to help spinners, more so than in either Dubai or Sharjah which will host the remaining two Test matches.

He added: "We've got a great chance in Abu Dhab but our spinners will come into play in all three Test matches."

However, Pakistan will start as favourites because of their excellent recent record in the United Arab Emirates which has become home from home.

Pakistan has lost only one of 10 Tests in the UAE since they started playing international cricket there in March 2009 for security reasons.

Called up

Pakistan have called up fast bowler Mohammad Talha - for the first time in four years - along with fit again Umar Gul and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez.

Bowler Gul is back in the squad following nine months out of action because of knee surgery but captain Misbah-ul-Haq is uncertain whether he will be in the starting XI this week.

Misbah said: "I can't say much on this but we are looking closely how it goes."

Pakistan has also retained uncapped fast bowler Bilawal Bhatti as cover for Junaid Khan who struggled with a leg injury during the recent one-day series.

Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq return as Test specialists with the bat.

Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad were in terrific form in the 50-over format and the skipper added: "When all your batsmen are in form then it's difficult to choose one.

"But it's better to have more choices of in-form players so that you can pick the better option according to the opposition's form and strength."