Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka has wished for his top-order batters to do well against India in the three-match T20I series. Sri Lanka last played a T20I series against Australia, losing 4-1 and commented on Wanindu Hasaranga testing COVID positive
Though the scoreline may not show the competitive spirit Sri Lanka showed, one of the chief reasons for losses was the top-order failing to fire, resulting in the destiny of the match being decided in the first ten overs of the visitors’ batting.
It is one of the aspects which Shanaka wants Sri Lanka to come good against an Indian side on a nine-match winning streak in the format.
“Especially in our batting side. India got a very strong bowling line-up. So, I am looking forward for our batters in the top to get some fire. Whenever our top order gets among the runs, we got better chance of winning as the bowlers get a chance to defend. So, looking forward to that in the series,” said Shanaka in the virtual press conference on the eve of the first T20I on Thursday.
India vs Sri Lanka T20 Series 2022: Wanindu Hasaranga Ruled Out After Contracting Covid
A couple of hours before the press conference, Sri Lanka’s leg-spin all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga was ruled out of the series as he hadn’t recovered from the Covid-19 infection he got in Australia. Shanaka also said that Kusal Mendis and Maheesh Theekshana are doubtful for the first match on Thursday because of hamstring niggles and are waiting for MRI scan reports on the same.
Amidst all the troubles with the first-choice players, Shanaka is expecting the youngsters in the side, Janith Liyanage, Shiran Fernando, Ashian Daniel and Kamil Mishara to stand up and lift the side with their performances. “All of these youngsters have been in the system for a while. So, they played LPL (Lankan Premier League), domestic games and they have performed really well.”
“In Wanindu’s case, it’s really normal, the Covid situation. All of the teams have struggled with these cases. Wanindu will be a big miss for us but we know that he will be back soon. Fortunately, we have got the next best option available in our squad here. Probably until he recovers and comes back soon, but our squad is still strong.”
Shanaka had bowled only twice in the five-match T20I series against Australia but is ready to roll his arm over if the team needs him in the series against India. “Our five main bowlers have been really good in the series. Personally, I would like to bowl at any time. But there is no opportunity for me to bowl there. Also, there is specific period of time to bowl the 20 overs. I kept bowling my main bowlers in that series and I am looking forward to bowl at any time in this series.”
Shanaka is expecting a strong competition from India despite Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul and Deepak Chahar not in the squad. “Not actually. They have got enough experience behind them with the IPL. So, they have got enough international exposure with that. It will be a real good contest. Even though it will be tough but we are a good side as well.”