Lasith Malinga took four wickets in four balls for the second time in his cricketing career during his last T20I which was against New Zealand. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Lasith Malinga had missed the Pakistan series due to security fears but the Sri Lanka cricket team still managed to whitewash the No.1 ranked Twenty20 International side 3-0. However, Malinga, considered one of the best T20I bowlers in the world is back for the three-match Twenty20 Internationals against Australia starting on October 27. The series will feature three Twenty20 Internationals which will be played on October 27, October 30 and November 1 in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne. Apart from Malinga, Sri Lanka sees the return of Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella who had also missed the Pakistan tour.
During the recent series against Pakistan, the likes of Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Wanindu Hasaranga shone through. Hasaranga was named the Man of the series for his all-round skills while the likes of Oshada Fernando also impressed. Nuwan Pradeep and Isuru Udana shone with the ball as Pakistan were whitewashed 3-0 for the first time in Twenty20 Internationals since 2015, when England whitewashed them in the UAE.
Malinga has been in top form in Twenty20 Internationals and he put on a magnificent display in the series against New Zealand. In the first match, he tied the record for the most wickets in Twenty20 Internationals but in the final match at Pallekele, Malinga showed his brilliance. He became the first and only bowler to take four wickets in four balls in both ODIs and T20Is as he picked up 5/6 to decimate New Zealand. With that feat, Malinga became the first bowler to take 100 wickets in T20Is and the first to take 100 wickets in all three formats.
Sri Lanka have a wonderful record against Australia in Twenty20 Internationals. In 13 matches, Sri Lanka have won eight and lost five but remarkably, they have won five out of their six encounters in Australia alone. In the first encounter between the two sides in 2010, Sri Lanka were victorious in Perth. In 2013, during the two-match series, Sri Lanka won by five wickets in Sydney and by two runs in Melbourne. The winning run continued in 2017 when Sri Lanka won the first two games in Melbourne and Geelong by five wickets and two wickets respectively while Australia won for the first time at home against Sri Lanka with a 41-run win in Adelaide.
The squad: Lasith Malinga (Captain), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana and Kasun Rajitha.