It looks like being a straight battle between Pakistan's superior bowling strength against Sri Lanka's arguably more potent batting lineup, a lineup which has been boosted by the return of that elegant, run-machine right-hander Mahela Jayawardene, who is back from his absence due to personal reasons.
However, the one aspect working in the favour of Pakistan will be Test cricket familiarity, with Sri Lanka last playing a five-day game way back in March.
"If you play regularly then it is much easier to keep your form alive," left-arm spinner Rangana Herath said. "As a team, we last played in March, and since then no games, so you can say there may be some rustiness, and you [will] need practice to shake it off, but you can't control these things.
"We, after all, had good five [ODI] games and we are almost ready for the three Tests."
That ODI series ended 3-2 in Pakistan's favour, with man of the series Mohammad Hafeez coming to the fore. There is much debate whether Hafeez will be included in the final XI, with the right-hander's off-spinner's likely to be the clinching factor in his favour.
Spin will no doubt have its say, with two of the world's best set to go head-to-head. Saeed Ajmal is at the peak of his powers for Pakistan, but so is Herath and the bowler who enjoys more success is likely to end up on the winning side.
"I have done well against Pakistan," Herath said. "I have more than 50 wickets [against them], but everything is [in the] past.
"Ajmal is a very good bowler, his record is very good. But even if I take my record in Tests, I have done well in the last four-five years, so some can say that it's a battle, but I am not concerned about Ajmal. I am concerned about my team and how I am going to perform."
Team news: Pakistan: There will be a decision to make between Hafeez and Azhar Ali, with the former likely to be given the nod considering his brilliant form in the recently-concluded ODI series.
Sri Lanka: Lahiru Thirimanne could miss out with an ankle injury, with Prasanna Jayawardene then coming in his stead. The bowling lineup, apart from Herath, is far from settle for the Lankans, with plenty of decisions to be made, including on which spinner to be given a debut to - Dilruwan Perera or Sachithra Senanayake.
Squads: Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq, Abdur Rehman, Adnan Akmal, Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Junaid Khan, Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Talha, Rahat Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Shan Masood, Umar Gul, Younis Khan.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Dimuth Karunaratne, Suranga Lakmal, Kaushal Silva, Rangana Herath, Prasanna Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dilruwan Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Lahiru Thirimanne.
Expected lineups: Pakistan: Khurram Manzoor, Shan Masood, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal (wk), Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Prasanna Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Sachithra Senanayake, Suranga Lakmal, Rangana Herath, Shaminda Eranga.
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