Cricket Article

Sri Lanka v New Zealand live 1st T20I at Pallekele

Sri Lanka v New Zealand live 1st T20I at Pallekele Photo: TT

Having hit back to win the third ODI in Dambulla by 36 runs on the D/L method, and thereby share the series with the touring New Zealanders, the Sri Lanka team will be hoping to take the momentum of that victory into the T20 series, which begins in Pallekele on Tuesday.

The Sri Lanka selectors have drafted the offspinning all-rounder, Ramith Rambukwella, into the squad for the two match series, along with legs-pinner, Seekkuge Prasanna.

The 22-year-old Rambukwella, who has yet to make his international bow, had previously been selected for the squad earlier in the year for the series against Bangladesh, but he didn’t actually get to play a match.

Prasanna, on the other hand, does have some international cricket experience, all be it quite limited, having played a single Test match, as well as nine ODI’s, the last of which was back in March 2012.

Both players gave good performances against Kenya for Sri Lanka A, in the recent T20 series, and it is those efforts that have won them their selection.

They can both point to their efforts in List A matches against New Zealand A in early October, to support their selection for the forthcoming T20 games, as in that match, Rambukwella took five wickets at 11.60, and Prasanna took six at 16.

Interestingly, that New Zealand A team, contained five players that feature in the New Zealand squad for the T20 internationals; Colin Munro, Grant Elliott, Anton Devcich, Andrew Ellis and Luke Ronchi.

Three players who were in the Sri Lanka squad for the ODI series have been omitted for the T20 games; opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne who had failed twice in the ODIs, middle-order batsman Ashan Priyanjan who is still waiting to make his international debut, and spinner Rangana Herath who it would appear is not in the selectors thinking for T20 matches.

While Sri Lanka had tried a policy of rotation for its senior batsmen when they played South Africa, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan are all named in the squad for the latest round of games.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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