Dec 5: Dambulla Viiking vs Galle Gladiators, Hambantota
Pro Tip: Galle Gladiators are yet to post their first win of the tournament and with their skipper Shahid Afridi also not available, things are looking bleak for them. So, pick more players from Dambulla Viiking team.
Our XI: Azam Khan, Danushka Gunathilaka, Upul Tharanga, Angelo Perera, Ahsan Ali, Chadwick Walton, Samit Patel, Dasun Shanaka, Akila Dananjaya, Ramesh Mendis, Malinda Pushpakumara
Substitutes: Samiullah Shinwari, Kasun Rajitha, Shehan Jayasuriya, Asitha Fernando
Player availability: Afridi is the only unavailable player in this game.
We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.
Captain: Danushka Gunathilaka
One of the easiest choices for this game. The Gladiators opener is the leading run-scorer of the tournament with 206 runs in four innings at a strike rate of 145.07. His scores in the tournament are 38, 30*, 82 and 56. He is extremely good against pacers, scoring 156 runs in 97 balls and getting out only once.
Vice-captain: Angelo Perera
Perera came into the tournament after a century in a first-class game but didn’t get any opportunity in the first two matches. Once he got the opportunity, he grabbed it with both hands by scoring 21 off 16 and 67 off 49. His T20 average of 24.14 and strike rate of 117.45 don’t reflect his true potential.
Dasun Shanaka: The Viiking skipper has scored 197 runs in four innings at a strike rate of 171.30, which makes him the second-leading run-maker of the tournament. He has been a master in the middle overs (7-15) scoring 142 runs in 89 balls, which ranks him the best in LPL 2020 so far.
Malinda Pushpakumara: From not getting to bowl in the second game to getting four wickets in the next couple, Pushpakumara brought his experience into play. Among the wealth of left-arm spinners in the tournament, he is the joint-most prolific bowler with five wickets in total.
Samit Patel: The experienced allrounder has scored 140 runs and picked up five wickets in four games in the LPL so far. He is among the top ten run-scorers as well as the top ten wicket-takers, which makes him one of the contenders for MVP of the season. He is enjoying a phenomenal year in the sub-continent after being one of the top performers in the Pakistan Super League too.
Ramesh Mendis: The uncapped allrounder has been impressive with the ball so far with two wickets at an economy of 5.77 in three games. He is also handy with the bat which was evident from his 42-ball 70 in the last game of Sri Lanka’s domestic T20 tournament. He also picked up eight wickets in six games in that tournament.
Azam Khan: Khan is our preferred wicketkeeping option for this game. He has played important cameos so far with knocks of 20, 10*, 13 and 25, which showed his big-hitting abilities. In 25 T20s so far, Khan’s strike rate is 149.54 with 30 sixes.
Samiullah Shinwari looked good with the bat in the last game even though he bats lower down the order. He can be a replacement for Mendis.
You can also consider bringing in Asitha Fernando for Akila Dananjaya.
Ishant Sharma gets stitches on bowling hand, but ‘expected to recover in time’ for England Tests
The fast bowler hurt himself while trying to stop a Ross Taylor drive on the last day of the WTC final
Sharma tried to stop a drive from Ross Taylor in what turned out to be the penultimate over of the final. He left the field with his hand bleeding, having bowled only two balls in his seventh over, with Jasprit Bumrah completing it.
“Ishant has had multiple stitches on his middle and fourth finger in his right hand. However, it is not very serious,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by PTI. “The stitches will be off in around ten days and with six weeks left for the first Test against England, he is expected to recover in time.”
The Indian team is having a break of three weeks after the conclusion of the WTC final, which New Zealand won by eight wickets.
“The squad travelled together to London. From here they can all leave for their respective destinations within the UK for a 20-day break,” the official said.
However, once the team reassembles in London on July 14 and proceeds to Nottingham, they are unlikely to get warm-up first-class games against English county sides. They will instead play intra-squad games at the Riverside ground in Durham.
“Well, that doesn’t depend on us. We obviously wanted first-class games, which I believe have not been given to us,” Kohli had said. “I don’t know what the reasons for that are. But yeah, other than that I think our preparation time will be ample for us to be ready for the first Test.”
While it is understood that the BCCI had requested the ECB for a few practice games, the Covid-19 situation won’t allow any such plan to go ahead.
“Due to Covid-19 protocols, they will play two intra-squad four-day matches before the first Test in August,” an ECB spokesperson told PTI on Friday. Asked if there is any chance of a game against county sides, the spokesperson said, “No”.
In England, cricketers from various counties are regularly being tested for Covid-19 but are not being kept in any bubble. But the Indian team would again be in a bubble once they move to Durham.
“The domestic cricketers of England not being in a bubble is an issue for sure. That’s why the games in Durham will be intra-squad ones,” the BCCI official said.
India are currently travelling with 24 players – 20 in the official squad and four reserves – which would thus allow them to play intra-squad games.
Eng vs SL 2021 – Jos Buttler ruled out of Sri Lanka white-ball series with calf injury
Dawid Malan added to ODI squad after MRI scans reveal small calf tear
Buttler, England’s vice-captain and wicketkeeper, scored an unbeaten 68 opening the batting in the first T20I. According to the ECB, he “felt tightness and discomfort” at the end of the game and was sent for an MRI scan on Thursday morning, which revealed a small tear. He sat out the second T20I, which England won by five wickets.
England had already suggested they may use the Sri Lanka T20Is to experiment, with Jonny Bairstow moving up to open in Buttler’s absence – although he made a three-ball duck as England initially struggled in their chase of 112. Liam Livingstone, whose unbeaten 29 helped secure victory, regularly opens in T20 cricket and could also deputise.
Dawid Malan, the No. 1-ranked T20I batter, has been added to the ODI squad, with Bairstow and Sam Billings in contention to take the gloves in the 50-over format. Billings scored his maiden ODI hundred last summer and would have been vying for a middle-order berth, regardless of Buttler’s availability.
“In terms of ODIs I had a really good summer last year and averaged 83 in that format so I would be pretty disappointed if I didn’t get a gig but this team is a very hard one to get into to,” he said.
England have already secured the T20I series ahead Saturday’s third match, at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. The teams will then play three ODIs, at Chester-le-Street, The Oval and Bristol.
ENG vs SL 2nd T20I – Mickey Arthur on England and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s head coach said he wants the batsmen to be more proactive against a world-class England attack
“Just not enough runs again,” Arthur told the BBC, when asked for his take on his side’s defeat. “We’re coming up against a really good bowling attack. They’re ranked No. 1 in the world, we’re ranked No. 9, and you can see the difference. We’ve started a journey with a young team and for us it’s about getting better, competing, learning from every game and every experience and getting better and better as we go along.
“It’s tough. We’re consistently talking about freedom, about taking the handbrake off as a batting unit. But you can only bat as well as you’re allowed to and I thought England were world-class with the lengths they hit. They put us under a lot of pressure with the bat.
“We can be more proactive and we’ve got to go back and work on that. We can walk around the crease a little bit more and try to do different things but our batters are learning all the time, particularly in these conditions. We’ve got a really exciting batting unit in our conditions but it’s about transferring those skills to conditions outside our own environment.”
“I thought we bowled really well,” he said. “Our fielding has gone up to another level. Fielding is all about attitude, it’s measurable, and I think the guys are getting better and better with that. We’re really excited with our bowling unit and we’ve got a couple of guys that are injured as well, so when we get them back we’ll be good.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
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