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Sri Lanka to cross swords with Australia


2017-02-17

Following a disappointing and dispiriting campaign in South Africa Sri Lanka will cross swords with Australia in the first of the three Twenty20 Internationals in Melbourne this afternoon.

South Africa won the T20I series 2-1 but was whitewashed in the Tests and ODIs.

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.

Sri Lanka will again be without the services of skipper Angelo Mathews, who is yet to recover from a hamstring injury, and will be led by Upul Tharanga.

Apart from Tharanga himself, 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.

Sri Lanka will also be boosted by Lasith Malinga’s return to the T20I side.

He makes a comeback after almost a year and his run in the tour game against Prime Minister’s XI, where he returned 1 for 26 from four overs should make him feel confident.

Australia clean swept Sri Lanka when they faced off in Sri Lanka last year, but a lot has changed for both teams since.

For Australia 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. Finch believes the series could offer budding talents as well as domestic veterans a chance to mark their presence on the international stage.