Let down by his batters in Australia, Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka wants more consistency from the top-order in the three-match T20 series against India, beginning in Lucknow on Thursday.
The 1-4 scoreline would suggest otherwise but Sri Lanka were competitive in the recent five-match series in Australia.
The outing also gave Sri Lanka a good idea of the conditions and combination going into the T20 World Cup Down Under later this year. However, Sri Lanka's top-order failed to live up to the expectations in Australia.
“We want the top-order to fire. Whenever the top order is among the runs we have a better chance of winning,” said Shanka in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday. “India have a strong bowling lineup and we are expecting our top-order to fire which will give our bowlers a chance to defend."
Star spinner Wanindu Hasaranga will miss the series due to a COVID-19 infection he contracted in Australia. The skipper said the team will miss him but he expects the young players to rise to the occasion.
“The youngsters have been in the system for a while, they have performed in domestic cricket. It has become normal with the COVID situation. All the teams are facing it. Wanindu will be a weakness for us but we know that he will be back soon. Still, our squad is strong enough,” Shanaka said.
Shanaka has used only five bowlers of late but said he is ready to roll his arm over if the situation demands. “Our five main bowlers have done well. Personally, I would like to bowl but there was no opportunity for me to bowl. If any of the bowlers get hit, I am ready to take the ball,” he added.
Sri Lanka had beaten a second-string India at home last year. The captain said the away series will be a much tougher challenge even though India will be missing the services of Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (both rested) and the injured Suryakumar Yadav and Deepak Chahar.
“They have players with lots of IPL experience. Still, they would be very strong. But we have a good side as well,” he added.