Colombo - Sri Lanka will look to prevent a clean sweep by Pakistan on the
current tour when they clash in two Twenty20 internationals in Colombo on
Thursday and Saturday.
Pakistan won the preceding Test series 2-1 and also clinched the one-dayers
3-2 to earn a double triumph in the island nation for the first time since
But Sri Lanka, the reigning World Twenty20 champions and the top-ranked side
in the shortest format, get a chance to salvage pride in the two end-of-tour
games at the Premadasa stadium.
Both sides wear a fresh look under new captains, with sling-arm fast bowler
Lasith Malinga leading Sri Lanka and veteran Shahid Afridi taking over at the
helm for fifth-ranked Pakistan.
While Malinga has retired from Test cricket and played in four of the five
one-dayers, Afridi has quit the other two formats and will make his first
appearance on the tour.
With the next World Twenty20 in India just eight months away, both sides
have blooded new players to give them experience in the nuances of T20 cricket.
Sri Lanka's 15-man squad includes five uncapped players in batsmen Shehan
Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka and Dhananjaya de Silva, fast bowler Binura Fernando
and leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay.
Test and one-day regulars Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne have been
omitted, but seasoned seamer Nuwan Kulasekara has been recalled after being
ignored for the one-day series.
"We need to get the younger brigade in the stream so that we have a
gradual transition leading up to the next World T20 and the 50-over World Cup
beyond that," Sri Lanka's chief selector Kapila Wijegunawardene was quoted
as saying in local media.
"We need to put them on the ground and see how they perform."
Afridi is one of five players set to contest the T20 series who did not
feature for Pakistan in either the Test or one-day matches.
Left-arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz, sidelined with a fractured hand since the
second Test, will be replaced by another left-arm quick Zia-ul-Haq.
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who picked up 24 wickets in the three Tests, returns
to the Twenty20 fold after four years, while 33-year-old fast bowler Mohammad
Irfan has also been picked.
Sri Lanka (from): Lasith Malinga (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kithruwan Vithanage, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Chamara Kapugedera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Thisara Perera, Jeffrey Vandersay, Nuwan Kulasekara, Binura Fernando, Chaturanga de Silva, Milinda Siriwardana
Pakistan (from): Shahid Afridi (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Nauman Anwar, Mohammad Hafeez, Mukhtar Ahmed, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah, Sohail Tanvir, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Zia-ul-Haq