Can Sri Lanka take ODI, Test momentum into T-20s?


Our Special Correspondent in Dhaka

After the troubles of 2017, where the national cricket team hit new lows, Sri Lanka have had a decent start to 2018 winning both the tri-nation tournament and the two match Test series against Bangladesh. Now they will be hoping to put up a good show in T-20s as well with the first game of the two match series scheduled for Thursday in Dhaka.

Sri Lanka’s T-20 specialists arrived in Dhaka on Sunday. The tourists are handicapped due to the absence of their white ball captain Angelo Mathews, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. Test captain Dinesh Chandimal will lead the side in his absence.

Bangladesh will miss the services of their captain Shakib Al Hasan, who missed the two Tests with a finger injury.

The tourists will rely heavily on their experienced campaigners Thisara Perera and Upul Tharanga. Sri Lanka’s former captains in shorter formats of the game had a decent outing during the tri-series. Tharanga was Man of the Match as Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh in the final by 79 runs while Perera was Player of the Series.

Another impact player Kusal Janith Perera, who missed the latter part of the tri-nation series due to a side strain is back in the squad.

The talking point after the Sri Lankan squad announcement was the inclusion of leg-spinning all-rounder Jeevan Mendis. At the age of 35, Mendis is Sri Lanka’s oldest player. The experienced Isuru Udana was also recalled.

Rookie fast bowler Shehan Madushanka, who took a hat-trick on debut is also in the T-20 squad. The 22-year-old was a surprise pick for ODIs as he has played less than a handful of domestic matches across all formats.

Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal has been rested in order to keep him fresh for the tri-nation Nidhas Trophy to be played in Colombo next month.

Bangladesh have recalled opener Soumya Sarkar. Their former coach Chandika Hathurusingha had highly rated the opening batsman, but he was not picked for the Tests and ODIs. There are several new players named in the Bangladesh squad and most of them had a decent BPL tournament, Bangladesh’s franchise based T-20 competition that has attracted foreign players.

Despite Sri Lanka’s struggles in 2017, one format they did well was T-20s. Sri Lanka recorded series wins over Australia and South Africa, but towards the tail end of the year, they began to struggle losing 3-0 to Pakistan and then to India.

Sri Lanka T-20 Squad:

Dinesh Chandimal(Captain), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Isuru Udana, Shehan Madushanka, Jeffrey Vandersay, Akila Dananjaya, Amila Aponso, Jeevan Mendis and Asitha Fernando.

Bangladesh T-20 Squad:

Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Abu Hider Rony, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque, Mehdi Hasan, Zakir Hasan and Afif Hossain.

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