Sri Lanka warm-up for English series with Irish clash

Thursday, 16 June 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


AFP: Sri Lanka return to one-day international action, for the first time since the beginning of January, in Dublin this week with two games against Ireland, preceding the five-match series with England, starting next Tuesday.

The squad will be encouraged by the improvement shown during the Test series against England but the selectors have made five changes for the one-day games with all-rounder Milinda Siriwardana the most notable omission.

Also heading home are Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Niroshan Dickwella and Dilruwan Perera, along with Rangana Herath who has retired from the 50-over format.

Siriwardana, with the help of 66 in the first match against New Zealand at the end of last year, finished as the top Sri Lanka batsman in the ODI series and the second most successful bowler but recent form has counted against him.

The new faces for the seven ODIs are Farveez Maharoof, Upul Tharanga, Seekkuge Prasanna, Danushka Gunathilaka and Suraj Randiv.

The experienced Maharoof, who has played 104 ODIs, has been rewarded for his performances in Sri Lanka’s List A competition this season when he took 16 wickets in five games.

Off spinner Randiv is in line to make his first appearance for his country since November 2014. He was the leading wicket-taker for his club in the same competition this season. It is a quick return to Ireland for Sri Lanka –- they played a two-match series in Dublin in 2014, although the second game was abandoned without a ball bowled.

Ireland could have up to eight survivors from the team that lost the first game by 79 runs, but will be without leading batsman and wicket-keeper Niall O’Brien, who tore a calf muscle in a county game for Leicestershire last week.

They will come up against Boyd Rankin, the 6ft 8in Warwickshire pace bowler whose only previous game at Malahide was in an England shirt – he made his ODI debut for them against Ireland there in 2013, and was the best bowler on view with figures of four for 46.

Long gone are the days when touring teams arrived in Ireland looking forward to the famous hospitality more than the match action.

The games on Thursday and Saturday promise to be a searching examination for this Sri Lanka team, who were very much second best in New Zealand when losing that series 3-1 and still getting used to life without Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene – and now Herath.