Dilshan set for swansong against firing Australia

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Sri Lankan cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan reacts after delivering a ball during a practice session ahead of the second Twenty20 cricket match against Australia in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

To watch Australia rewrite the T20 record books on Tuesday, you’d think they were the world’s dominant team in the format. And indeed, they do boast two of the three highest T20 international totals of all time (263 for 3 this week and 248 for 6 against England in 2013) and all of the three highest individual scores (Aaron Finch 156, Glenn Maxwell 145*, and Shane Watson 124*). Yet, for all of those monster scores, Australia were booted out in the group stage of this year’s World T20 and have only once made the final of that event, when they lost to England in 2010. It is a format in which Australia are inconsistent, but, as this week has shown, at their best their firepower is awesome.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, had won a World T20 title, back in 2014. Some links from that triumphant final remain Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake. Some have gone Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Rangana Herath, for example. And another is about to leave: Tillakaratne Dilshan, who played every match of that successful campaign, is set to play his final match for Sri Lanka. A batsman who has brought great joy to Sri Lanka – not least in the T20 format – Dilshan will hardly want to leave the game on a low, and Tuesday’s match was about as low as it gets in T20Is.

Sri Lanka’s selectors will be tempted to make changes to the attack after their annihilation in the first game. Kasun Rajitha might lose his place to Dasun Shanaka, while there is also the chance that Milinda Siriwardana may be brought in, perhaps for Sachithra Senanayake.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1. Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Kusal Perera (wk), 3 Dhananjaya de Silva, 4 Dinesh Chandimal (capt), 5 Kusal Mendis, 6 Thisara Perera, 7 Chamara Kapugedera, 8 Sachith Pathirana, 9 Sachithra Senanayake/Milinda Siriwardana, 10 Suranga Lakmal, 11 Dasun Shanaka.

Aaron Finch remains unavailable due to his broken finger and George Bailey has flown home, so Matthew Wade will play as a specialist batsman. The only question is whether the attack remains the same. The in-form John Hastings was left out of the first game and surely would be a valuable inclusion, but after the success of the first match the selectors may choose the same bowlers.

Australia(possible): 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Glenn Maxwell, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Travis Head, 5 Matthew Wade, 6 Moises Henriques, 7 James Faulkner, 8 Peter Nevill (wk), 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Scott Boland.