Aussies bowling first to open Sri Lanka tour

Andrew Symonds will be honored with a moment’s silence and black bracelets as Australia elected to bowl first in their first match since the cricket star died.

A sell-out crowd was expected to fill the R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo for Australia’s first match in Sri Lanka in six years, with proceeds of ticket sales to go to towards fixing the nation’s economic crisis.

The match marks Sri Lanka’s first international fixture without COVID-19 capacity restrictions in place since the pandemic started.

Symonds passed away in a car accident last month in Townsville, with both Australian and Sri Lankan teams to pay tribute to the star former allrounder before play.

The two teams had already confirmed their XIs before the toss, as Australia picked just one spinner in Ashton Agar in the expectation wet weather will see seam-friendly conditions prevail.

Sri Lanka XI: Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Charith Asalanka, Kusal Mendis, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Nuwan Thushara

Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Josh Hazlewood

The absences of Test captain Pat Cummins (who arrives in Sri Lanka today ahead of the ODI series) and Adam Zampa (birth of his first child) aside, the world short-form champions are at full strength for the three-game T20 series against the ICC’s ninth-ranked T20I team.

The match marks the first of 11 T20Is Australia will play before defending their World Cup title on home soil later this year.

The outfield of the Sri Lanka’s biggest cricket ground is in boggy condition for match, despite wet-season downpours easing since Australians arrived on the island last week.

The Aussies’ range-hitting in a centre-wicket practice session on Monday left deep divots where balls plugged in the outfield.

Australia reveal XI on eve of Sri Lanka T20 opener

Captain Aaron Finch said he was not concerned for player safety, though he did not expect a quick outfield for the first of two T20Is in Colombo on back-to-back evenings.

Sri Lanka have picked a strong bowling attack led by IPL million-dollar man Wanindu Hasaranga and mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana but captain Dasun Shanaka has conceded their batting will need to improve from their 4-1 T20 series defeat in Australia in February.

“That was in their conditions and we want to put up a good show and win this series in our conditions,” said Shanaka.

“Our bowling looks formidable with quite a few guys gaining IPL experience. The weak link is batting and if we are able to address that, I don’t see why we aren’t a force in this year’s World Cup.”

There are shortages of fuel, food and medicines on the island during one of the worst economic crises in Sri Lanka’s history which has seen street demonstrations and forced the Prime Minister to step down last month.

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Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Mohan de Silva declared Monday that the board would “donate all gate collection from the series to public welfare”.

“We are also grateful to the Australian cricket board and the Australian government for supporting this series despite the hardships we are facing as a nation,” he added.

Shanaka acknowledged that “these have been difficult times for our people and we want to win this series and put a smile on the faces of our people.

Finch hopes “we can bring some joy and some entertainment to Sri Lanka,” he said this week.

“It’s such a special place to tour. The hospitality that you get here, the friendliness, and their love for the game is unbelievable.”

Australia announced before play that reserve fast bowler Sean Abbott would be heading home due to a broken finger. No replacement has been named.

Qantas Tour of Sri Lanka, 2022

Sri Lankan T20 squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Nuwanidu Fernando, Lahiru Madushanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha, Nuwandissha, Maheesesh Pathir Thushara, Matheesh The Pathir Praveen Jayawickrama, Lakshan Sandakan. Standby: Jeffrey Vandersay, Niroshan Dickwella

Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner, Matthew Wade

June 7: First T20, Colombo, 11.30pm AEST

June 8: Second T20, Colombo, 11.30pm AEST

June 11: Third T20, Kandy, 11.30pm AEST

Sri Lanka ODI squad (provisional): Dasun Shanaka (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya De Silva, Ashen Bandara, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Janith Liyanage, Dunith Wellalage, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Wanin Arduarchi Karunaratne, Lahiru Madushanka, Ramesh Mendis, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Jeffrey Vandersay, Maheesh Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama

Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

June 14: First ODI, Kandy, 7pm AEST

June 16: Second ODI, Kandy, 7pm AEST

June 19: Third ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST

June 21: Fourth ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST

June 24: Fifth ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST

Sri Lanka Test squad (provisional): Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Pathum Nissanka, Kamil Mishara, Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Ramesh Mendis, Mohamed Shiraz, Shiran Fernando, Dilshan Madus Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lakshitha Rasanjana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suminda Lakshan

Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

June 29 – July 3: First Test, Galle, 2.30pm AEST

July 8-12: Second Test, Galle, 2.30pm AEST

All Sri Lanka v Australia international fixtures will be screened live on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports

Australia A fixtures

Australia A squad: Scott Boland, Aaron Hardie, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kuhnemann, Nic Maddinson, Todd Murphy, Jimmy Peirson, Josh Philippe, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, Mark Steketee

Sri Lanka A one day squad: Dhananjaya de Silva (c), Niroshan Dickwella, Lahiru Udara, Lasith Croospulle, Oshada Fernando, Pabasara Waduge, Kamindu Mendis, Ashen Bandara, Janitha Liyanage, Sahan Arachchi, Pulina Tharanga, Dunith Wellalage, Dananjaya Lakshan, Shiran Fernando (will not play due to injury), Dilshan Madushanka, Pramod Madushan, Nishan Madushka, Ashen Daniel, Nisala Tharaka

June 8: First one day game v Sri Lanka A, Colombo

June 10: Second one day game v Sri Lanka A, Colombo

Jun 14-17: first-class tour match v Sri Lanka A, Hambantota

June 21-24: first-class tour match v Sri Lanka A, Hambantota

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