Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis return to Sri Lankan side for Aussie T20I series

Colombo, Jan 26 (IANS) Opener Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis have both made their way back into the Sri Lankan T20I side for the five-match series against Australia after being suspended for a year for breaking COVID-19 protocols during the away series against England last year.

However, wicketkeeper-batter Niroshan Dickwella — the third player to have been suspended for the offence on the tour — has not been included. Sri Lanka begin their campaign at the Sydney Cricket Ground on February 11.

Besides, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who played in the middle-order during the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE last year, has also been omitted owing to fitness concerns. Another member of the T20 World Cup side, Dhananjaya de Silva, has also lost his place.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has included uncapped players in the squad in the form of seamer Nuwan Thushara, top-order batter Janith Liyanage, and opener Kamil Mishara. Thushara figured in the top-three wicket-takers’ list in the Lanka Premier League (LPL), claiming 12 wickets across eight matches, with an economy rate of 8.11, while Liyanage scored 108 runs at a strike rate of 120 in four LPL matches he played, according to espncricinfo.

Angelo Mathews has also been omitted owing to a hamstring injury.

Sri Lanka T20I squad: Dasun Shanaka (capt), Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Janith Liyanage, Kamil Mishara, Ramesh Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Thushara, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Shiran Fernando.

–IANS

akm/