New-look Australia to test Sri lankaPublished : 9:37 am February 17, 2017 | No comments so far | | (112) reads |
Australia will cross swords with Sri Lanka in the first of the three Twenty20 Internationals in Melbourne today (17) with a number of its marquee players unavailable.
Sri Lanka will be boosted by Lasith Malinga’s return to the T20I side. He is making a comeback after almost a year and his run in the tour game against the Prime Minister’s XI, where he returned one for 26 from four overs, was noteworthy and should make him feel confident.
With Steven Smith, David Warner and others gearing up for the Test series away in India, Aaron Finch will lead the relatively inexperienced Australian side in the series.
Finch has a task in hand in marshalling the side, which is full of replacement players who have come into the squad on the back of strong performances in the recent Big Bash League – the 13-man squad includes Michael Klinger, Jhye Richardson and Ashton Turner, who are all in line for their international debuts.
Finch stressed that the series could offer budding talents as well as domestic veterans – like Klinger, 36 – a chance to mark their presence on the international stage.
Australia has firepower in its batting ranks with Finch, Klinger, Travis Head, Dunk and Moises Henriques, but the bowling looks a tad thin with James Faulkner and Pat Cummins, the pacemen, the only established names in the lot.
For Sri Lanka, after a largely dispiriting campaign in South Africa where they won the T20I series 2-1 against a depleted home side but was whitewashed in the Tests and ODIs, there is a lot to look forward to. Faced with an Australia side as fresh-faced as the South Africans were in the T20Is, the visiting side will look to whip up an encore.
Apart from Skipper Upul Tharanga the responsibility of scoring big runs and getting the team off to a good start will be on Niroshan Dickwella, who has been in prolific form in recent times, and the likes of Kusal Mendis, Dilshan Munaweera and Milinda Siriwardena.
Australia clean swept Sri Lanka when they faced off in the island nation late last year, but a lot has changed for both teams since.
Australia: Aaron Finch (Captain), Pat Cummins, Ben Dunk, James Faulkner, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Michael Klinger, Tim Paine (wk), Jhye Richardson, Billy Stanlake, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye and Adam Zampa.
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga (Captain), Vikum Sanjaya, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Asela Gunaratne, Chamara Kapugedara, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Kusal Mendis, Dilshan Munaweera, Sachith Pathirana, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lakshan Sandakan, Dasun Shanaka, Milinda Siriwardana and Isuru Udana.(ICC)