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Good opportunity for Sri Lanka – Dilshan

Sri Lanka skipper Tillekeratne Dilshan said yesterday that he was looking forward winning today’s first T- 20 versus Cameron White’s Australians which would also be Sri Lanka’s first T 20 victory at home versus the Kangaroos.

I know we have never won a T-20 game in Sri Lanka. This is a good opportunity for us to put that record right. As a team we have done all the preparations right and looking forward for tomorrow’s game, Dilshan told journalists during a practice session at the Pallekele yesterday, eve of the first T 20 in the current tour. The team would be selected this morning and there will be a three spinners and also Jeewan Mendis, the fourth, in the event of the need arises.

Dilshan and Mahela Jayewadene will be opening the batting and Dinesh Chandimal would be the one drop batsman.

Pallekelle is great - White
Australia’s Twenty20 skipper Cameron White said yesterday that his team had completed their preparations and was ready to take on Sri Lanka in the first of the two encounters beginning here today.
The ground was good and the pitch and the weather were excellent, Cameron told a group of journalists during a practice session at the Pallekelle grounds yesterday, adding that he did not mind the heat and the humidity in Colombo.
Responding to a question from the Daily News where he too subscribed to the views of numerous visiting international cricket captains that the pitches in Sri Lanka were too slow, he said: “ The pitch was great and the and it had a little grass on it. It looks like a great wicket and we will see the state of the pitch when the game gets underway tomorrow. The conditions are great and we are looking for a great game tomorrow”
When pointed out that he was leading a young Australian side which was pitting its wits against a very strong Sri Lankan XI and excellent exponents in the one day version and the T20s, he said: “Sri Lankans were very strong and especially in the manner in which they played against England in England” White specifically mentioned former skippers Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene as outstanding, “When Sri Lanka has players of that calibre, we know what to expect”, he said.
He said that there were quite a few youngsters in the Australian side who had played very good cricket and that they too were capable of making an impression.
Asked whether it was fair and that whether he minded that he was being used only as the T20 skipper and for some One Day Internationals only, he responded in the negative. He said that he had played quite a few games in the last few months and which were preparatory as well, but said that he would move out as the T20 skipper after the series and to play in the one day squad.
Asked whether the Australian side was using the current T20 series against Sri Lanka as a practice session and the launching pad for the T20 World Cup which was to be played in Sri Lanka, he said that the World Cup T20 series which would be held in Sri Lanka had a special aura about it, but conceded that there were not a large number of T20 games between now and then.

I will have a chat with the coach and the selectors and decide on the final composition of the side. Giving the young players a chance is something that I try on every opportunity I get, he said.

Asked about the venue, he said: “Even we have played just one game here. Both sides will have a good game I believe and both sides are balanced and the best team will win.

The wicket are having bounce and therefore Aussies having slight advantage. If you compare with other wickets in Sri Lanka, the fast bowlers will have some advantage here. But we had a good series in England and looking forward to improve on those results.

Lasith Malinga’s absence, Dilshan conceded, was a big loss.

“But we have to give opportunities for some of the younger players. We lost Murali that was a big loss too, but we managed to move forward without him. That’s the reality and you have to live with that, he said. Now, Lasith is injured and I am sure another young player will take up that opportunity. If the players step up and deliver, rather than depending on one or two players, we can make the maximum from what we have,” he said.

This is a wicket that helps faster bowlers. Had it been at Kettarama, we could have played three spinners apart from me. But for tomorrow I don’t think there will be more than two spinners for simply because the conditions seem to be helping faster bowlers more.

He said that Angelo Mathews was still not 100 percent fit . He can’t send down ten overs, but if he can send down three or four overs I think that will help us to balance the side. Dilshan said Dinesh Chandimal will certainly play. In T-20 he will play at number three, but in ODIs he will have to play at number five.

We can’t fill the gap created by Lasith. But the players whom we have got, should put their hands up and come up with some good efforts. I think he should be alright fro the first ODI.

Commenting on the prospects of the T 20 World Cup scheduled to be hosted by Sri Lanka, he said: “We have to prepare from now onwards. We have to give players opportunities from now itself as there are very few T-20 games left before that tournament. I don’t think we have to do lot of changes in ODI cricket and T-20 cricket. We don’t need to chop and change much. There are some good young players and we need to give them opportunities and get them in a good frame of mind before the T-20 World Cup.


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