Shanaka confident can shock T20 world champions Australia
Dasun Shanaka is confident Sri Lanka can claim a shock win over world champions Australia in a T20 International series that starts in Colomba on Tuesday.
The visitors previously beat their hosts 4-1 in a five-match series in February on home soil after winning the T20 World Cup for the first time in Dubai.
Aaron Finch's side have since won a one-off match in Pakistan despite being without a whole host of players.
They are close to full strength for the start of the three-match series, with Finch and Marcus Stoinis the only players who featured in that win in Lahore who have named in the team for the opener at the R.Premadasa Stadium.
Yet Sri Lanka captain Shanaka believes his side can make the most of the conditions on the back of a triumph for the Test side against Bangladesh in such tough times due to a financial crisis in the country.
He said: "We gained much playing Australia in their own backyard last time out and I'm confident that we are well geared in the batting and bowling to get the better of them with our home conditions in our favour."
Shanaka added: "Lots of our players have benefited by playing in the recent IPL and that experience would be a leading edge to maximising their potential when Sri Lanka locks horns with the Australians strong as they are.
"A positive factor for our players at the IPL is that they have gained the opportunity of flexing their muscles in gay abandon, unlike back home where the domestic season has been plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in several players being laid down, while the adverse weather has been a negating factor as well."
Sri Lanka have named uncapped duo Nuwanidu Fernando, a top-order batter, and Matheesha Pathirana, a right-arm seamer, in their squad early in a new era under head coach Chris Silverwood.
The tourists are without Pat Cummins (rested) and Adam Zampa (parental leave), while Michael Di Venuto is filling in at the start of the series after head coach Andrew McDonald was forced into isolation back home following a positive COVID-19 test.
Finch in the spotlight
Australia captain Finch endured a frustrating Indian Premier League, scoring only 86 runs in five innings for Kolkata Knight Riders.
The opener did make 55 in his last game for his country, the T20I success over Pakistan, and the tourists will be looking for him to set the tone at the top of the order with the T20 World Cup on home soil fast approaching.
Hasaranga key for Sri Lanka
If Sri Lanka are to pull off an upset, Wanindu Hasaranga will surely have a big part to play after an excellent IPL for the spinner.
The tweaker was the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament behind with 26 at an average of 17.65 for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Maheesh Theekshana can also trouble the tourists as they face a trial by spin.