Sri Lanka will have a chance to make amends for their downslide with a convincing performance in the upcoming Champions Trophy 2017 tournament.
They were defeated 0-3 in the ODI series the last time they toured England, following which they suffered a 1-4 loss against Australia at home and were whitewashed in South Africa 0-5 before going on to draw a home series against Bangladesh 1-1. Their only recent series victory that came was in the tri-series in Zimbabwe in November which also had West Indies as they defeated the home side in the final by six wickets. As a result, they enter the Champions Trophy as the seventh ranked side behind Bangladesh.
The squad still has a number of youngsters, who will be keen to prove a point at the biggest stage while the return of Lasith Malinga could not have come at a better time. His partnership with Nuwan Kulasekara with the new ball along with Suranga Lakmal will be a key factor. Upul Tharanga has sealed his place at the top while the toss up might come between Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Perera - both similar type of batsmen and also provide wicket-keeping options. A lot will be expected from Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal to control the middle overs to have a perfect platform for the power-hitters down the order. Mathews had already stated that Lakshan Sandakan will be the bowler to watch out in the tournament, though he did not have a productive warm-up game against New Zealand.
The 2002 edition saw them jointly win the title with India in a rain-affected final while they have managed to reach the semi-finals on two occasions as well in 1998 and 2013. Overall, they have a win percentage close to 60, after registering victories in 13 out of the 23 games.
Lasith Malinga - He has been included in the squad after a long hiatus of 18 months. Even though, he did not look at his best during the recently concluded Indian Premier League campaign for Mumbai Indians, he will still be a force to reckon with his slinging action. He is currently third in the tournament's leading wicket-taker with 22 wickets from 13 games and needs another seven to surpass Kyle Mills to become all-time leading wicket-taker in the history of Champions Trophy.
3rd June v South Africa at Kennington Oval
8th June v India at Kennington Oval
12th June v Pakistan at Sophia Gardens
Angelo Mathews (c), Upul Tharanga (vc), Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Nuwan Kulasekera, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan and Seekkuge Prasanna
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