Danushka Gunathilaka

Gunathilaka returns as Sri Lanka announce T20I squad for Australia tour

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Sri Lanka have named Danushka Gunathilaka in their squad for the five-match T20I series against Australia starting on February 11.

This is the first time that Gunathilaka has been named in Sri Lanka's squad since he was suspended for breaking COVID-19 protocols in England. Kusal Mendis, who marked his return from suspension in the ODIs against Zimbabwe, also finds a place in the touring squad.

Among the other players who have missed out are Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Dhananjaya de Silva. Rajapaksa played a key role in the middle-order for Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup.

The squad features some uncapped players in seamer Nuwan Thushara, top-order batter Janith Liyanage, and opener Kamil Mishara. Thushara and Liyanage have been picked on the back of impressive performances in Sri Lanka's domestic T20 League while 20-year-old Mishara has been given a chance because of the promise he has shown so far.

Dinesh Chandimal has been included in the squad again on the back of impressive performances in the Lanka Premier League, where he flourished as a finisher. Wanindu Hasaranga, who missed the ODIs against Zimbabwe due to a hamstring injury, is back in the squad again to lead their spin attack. Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, and Ramesh Mendis are the other spinners in the squad.

Dushmantha Chameera is expected to lead the pace bowling attack for the Lankans in Australia while the likes of Lahiru Kumara, Chamika Karunaratne, Binura Fernando, Shiran Fernando, and Thushara will provide him able support from the other end. Charith Asalanka has been named as the vice-captain for this tour once again and will have a key role to play in the batting order along with Pathum Nissanka, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal.

The first T20I of the series will be played on January 11 in Sydney followed by matches in Canberra and Melbourne.

Sri Lanka T20I squad for Australia tour: Dasun Shanaka (c), Charith Asalanka (vc), Avishka Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Janith Liyanage, Kamil Mishara, Ramesh Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Thushara, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Shiran Fernando

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