Malinga to make comeback in Asia Cup curtain-raiser


Rex Clementine
reporting from Dubai

Fast bowler Lasith Malinga will make his comeback in international cricket after being in the wilderness for more than one year in today’s curtain-raiser of the Asia Cup tournament as the Sri Lankans take on Bangladesh here at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. 

Sri Lanka’s skipper Angelo Mathews expected a keen contest in the two week competition that will be played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. "Our preparation has been great ahead of the tournament and we look forward for a competitive series. It is very hot out here. But it is the same for all teams."

Sri Lanka  have suffered several setbacks ahead of their opening game with wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Chandimal ruled out and opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka forced to return home with a back strain. Off-spinner Akila Dananjaya, Sri Lanka’s most successful bowler in recent times is also out of the opening game. Dananjaya stayed back in Colombo to be with his wife who was expecting the couple’s first child.

"It is disappointing but at the same time we have got the skill and the squad to go out there and win games. That is a plus point for us. Disappointing to lose Chandi and then Danushka who was  in good nick during the Domestic T-20 Tournament. But we have the resources to beat any team," Mathews went onto say.

Niroshan Dickwella, who was not in the original squad is tipped to open the innings with Upul Tharanga with Dhananjaya de Silva expected to bat at number four. The right-handed batsman was down with a side strain but has recovered and he is available for the game.

The last time these two teams met was during a do or die battle in the Nidahas Trophy where tempers frayed and Bangladesh posted a thrilling win to qualify for the finals.

Sri Lanka are the defending champions having won the last 50 overs version of the Asia Cup beating Pakistan in Dhaka in 2014. India won the last competition which was  turned into a T-20 series in 2016.

Sri Lanka (Probable XI)

Niroshan Dickwella (Wicketkeeper), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews (Captain), Kusal Janith Perera, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Malinga and  Suranga Lakmal.

Bangladesh Squad

Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mashrafe Mortaza(Captain), Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim (Wicketkeeper), Ariful Haque, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Nazmul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Hider Rony, Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Mominul Haque.


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