1st T20I: Wanidu Hasaranga debuts as Sri Lanka opt to bat
Wanidu Hasaranga (AFP Photo)

Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga won the toss and opted to bat first against New Zealand in the first T20I of the three-match series in Pallekele on Sunday evening.

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The toss was delayed due to rain but the weather cleared up just in time with the teams beginning their preparations for the ICC T20 World Cup to be played next year in Australia.

Sri Lanka have given T20I debut to allrounder Wanidu Hasaranga. Hasaranga, a legspinner, became the third ever bowler in ODI history to take a hat-trick on debut against Zimbabwe in 2017 and has so far taken 10 wickets from as many ODIs. “We are a young side, I want them to play with lot of freedom. Wanindu is a good allrounder, he’s making his debut. We have a long way to go and it’s time to build our team. I want to share my experience with the youngsters in the team,”  Malinga said at the toss.

New Zealand were dealt an injury blow with pacer Lockie Ferguson fracturing his thumb during a training session on Saturday rendering him unfit.

“(Todd)Astle, (Tom) Bruce  and Ferguson miss out. Ferguson fractured his thumb yesterday in the training, so it’s a bit disappointing. A few guys who had a taste in our home summer will get another chance in the T20 format. It looks like a pretty good wicket, hope the rain stays away,” Tim Southee, who is leading New Zealand in the absence of Kane Williamson, said.

Playing XIs

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Daryl Mitchell, Tim Seifert (wk), Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tim Southee (captain), Ish Sodhi

Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Akila Dananjaya, Isuru Udana, Wanidu Hasaranga, Lasith Malinga (captain), Kasun Rajitha