Bangladesh have been excellent on this tour so far and will look to end it on a high © AFP
Bangladesh have been excellent on this tour so far and will look to end it on a high © AFP

After an evenly contested Test and One-Day International (ODI) series, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh lock horns in the two-match T20 International (T20I) series at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo. Bangladesh have not lost a single series on this tour so far as the Test and the ODI series ended with a win apiece for both sides. Bangladesh registered a rare win in their 100th Test by 4 wickets at P Sara Oval, after losing the first one by 259 runs at Colombo. In the ODI series, Bangladesh thrashed Sri Lanka by 90 runs in the first match, but the second match at Dambulla was washed out. However, Sri Lanka bounced back to win the third ODI by 70 runs and level the series. Full Cricket Scorecard: Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka 1st T20I at Colombo (RPS)

Going into the T20I series, both teams have made a few changes to their squad. Bangladesh have roped in 20-year-old all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin, who was playing in ACC Emerging Teams Cup for Bangladesh Under-23. Saifuddin finished the tournament with 55 runs at 55 and also picked up 4 wickets in two matches at an economy rate of 5.50. Also, Rubel Hossain and Shuvagata Hom, who did not play in the ODIs, have flown home ahead of the T20I series.

Sri Lanka on the other hand have dropped the in-form batsman Kusal Mendis, who won the player of the series award in the ODI series. Mendis’ poor record in the shortest format saw his name omitted. Chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya said that he did not want to burden the young batsman “with too many things”. However, there was good news for Thisara Perera, who after being dropped for the T20Is against Australia, finds himself included in the squad. Perera struck a couple of fifties in the ODIs, but his form with the ball remains a concern. Shehan Jayasuriya, who last played a T20I for Sri Lanka over a year ago, also earns a call-up.

Dinesh Chandimal and Sachith Pathirana, who were part of the ODI squad, will not feature in the T20Is. As a result, Kusal Perera will take over the wicketkeeping gloves, provided he is declared fit to play. If not, young Sandun Weerakkody will be handed a T20I debut. Angelo Mathews has still not recovered from his calf injury and it will be Upul Tharanga, who will lead Sri Lanka in his absence. Mathews’ injury also puts him in doubt for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017, where he has been picked by Delhi Daredevils (DD).

Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza has been handed a one-match ban for maintaining a slow over-rate in the third ODI. His teammates on the other hand were fined 20 per cent of their match fees. However, Mortaza will not miss this match, but will miss Bangladesh’s next ODI, which will be against Ireland in the three-nation tournament in May.

Bangladesh have not faced Lasith Malinga on the tour so far and the fast bowler could be key to Sri Lanka’s success in this series. Malinga made a triumphant return to international cricket, when he played in the T20I series against Australia in February. However, Asela Gunaratne’s red-hot form with the bat in T20Is will make him the man to watch out for in this series.

The visitors are highly unlikely to make any changes to their XI from the ODI series. Although we might see Saifuddin make his international debut in place of either Mossaddek Hossain or Mahmudulah. Subashis Roy too is in the squad. But Saifuddin’s batting abilities could give him the nod ahead of the 28-year-old. Mehedi Hasan, who has been a revelation since his debut against England in October last year, is more or less assured of a T20I debut.

A win for either team in this match will ensure that they do not lose the series, which will be a huge confidence booster going into the second and final T20I. Weather could play spoilsport as some showers are expected in Colombo on Tuesday. This has been an evenly contested tour so far and both the teams will want to kick start the last leg of the tour on a high. As far as the rankings are concerned, regardless of what happens in the series, Sri Lanka will remain in the eighth position and Bangladesh will remain two spots below them at 10th.

Squads:

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga (c), Dilshan Munaweera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera (wk) (subject to fitness), Lasith Malinga, Isuru Udana, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dasun Shanaka, Vikum Sanjaya, Milinda Siriwardana, Asela Gunaratne, Seekkuge Prasanna, Chamara Kapugedara, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Shehan Jayasuriya, Sandun Weerakkody (wk) (On stand-by)

Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Subashis Roy, Sanjamul Islam, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mehedi Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin

TIME: 19.00 Local | 13.30 GMT | 19.00 IST