Lasith Malinga returns as SLC announce 16-man squad for three T20Is vs Australia
Regular skipper Lasith Malinga returns back to the national side for the three T20Is versus Australia later this month. The Sri Lankan cricket team, who is basking in the glory of a T20I whitewash over Pakistan in Lahore, is set to tour Australia for the shortest format of the game. Hence, some of the top players have returned back to the line-up.
Ahead of the Pakistan tour, the likes of Malinga, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis had opted out from touring the neighbouring country citing security concerns. Nonetheless, the four return to the 16-man squad at the expense of Angelo Perera, Lahiru Madushanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Minod Bhanuka, who were all part of the whitewash over Sarfaraz Ahmed-led Pakistan.
The Islanders are set to meet Aaron Finch-led Australia in the series opener of the three-match series in Adelaide. Following that, the action will shift to the Gabba in Brisbane before the series decider in Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Given that every side is gearing up for the next ICC event, i.e. World Twenty20 (WT20) 2020 in Australia, Malinga and Co. will be eager to maintain their winning streak and give a tough run to the Australians.
Some of the players who have retained their spots despite the return of the regulars are as follows: Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Wanindu Hasaranga. The former made the most of the opportunities in Pakistan with an impressive 48-ball 77 at No. 3 during the penultimate T20I, along with a 22-ball 32 in the first match. On the other hand, Hasarange ended as the top wicket-taker with eight scalps at an economy of 6.58.
With a staggering record Down Under, including five wins out of six encounters, the Sri Lankans will be confident of staging an upset versus the hosts. The tour commences from October 27.
In the latest ICC T20I rankings, Sri Lanka hold the seventh spot whereas Australia are at fifth place.
Sri Lanka T20I squad: Lasith Malinga – Captain, Kusal Janith Perera, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha.