Lasith Malinga returns to captain Sri Lanka, while Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Oshada Fernando have retained their places in the Twenty20 International squad for the series in Australia.

Malinga was among a host of players who opted out of the recent tour of Pakistan, which Sri Lanka ended with a historic 3-0 whitewash of the top-ranked T20 side in the world.

Dasun Shanaka skippered an inexperienced team in Malinga's absence, but the paceman is set to resume leadership duties in a three-match series that starts at Adelaide Oval on October 27.

Batsmen Rajapaksa and Oshada are also among the 16 players selected after making their debuts in Pakistan.

Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella are among the other names to come back into the squad.

 

Sri Lanka squad:

Lasith Malinga (captain), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha.

Ten Sri Lanka players have decided to withdraw from the forthcoming tour of Pakistan amid security concerns.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) held a meeting with the squad on Monday at which the chief security advisor outlined the risks, with all players afforded the freedom to choose if they would travel. 

It was following that meeting that a number of players, including the likes of Angelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga and Dimuth Karunaratne, opted against featuring in the three ODIs and three Twenty20s scheduled across September and October.

The Sri Lanka team bus came under attack from gunmen in Lahore while touring Pakistan in 2009.

Confirming the news of the withdrawals, and SLC statement read: "Former Sri Lanka Air Force Commander, Marshal Air Roshan Goonetileke, who is the Chief Security Advisor of the SLC, briefed the players about the security situation in Pakistan and the security arrangements PCB [Pakistan Cricket Board] plans on implementing during Sri Lanka team’s tour of that country, whilst Chairman of the National Selection Panel Mr Asantha De Mel, explained about the selection policy for future tours.

"He said players will be given the freedom to decide on either taking part or not in the forthcoming Pakistan tour.

"Accordingly, the following players chose to stay away from the upcoming Pakistan series – Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Suranga Lakmal, Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne."

Kusal Mendis has also been ruled out by an injury suffered in the series with New Zealand.

Nineteen from the over, the ball soaring into the crowd. Ben Stokes had seen this story before from the other side.

West Indies needed 19 as England's premier all-rounder stood at the end of his mark to conclude the 2016 World T20 final. Six, six, six and another six from Carlos Brathwaite later and expectations of glory were in tatters.

A more successful final outing under his belt, Stokes was the man dishing out punishment to the previously imperious Josh Hazlewood at Headingley on Sunday, orchestrating a mind-boggling chase of 359 and a one-wicket win that will forever have its place in cricket history.

Decades from now the highlights packages of those audacious exploits will be pored over time and again, but it is interesting to consider how this Test era – apparently Stokes' world with the rest of us merely living in it – might be viewed overall.

Because this most grand and elegant of team sports has never seemed so unhinged.

Kusal the Durban destroyer

At the start of last month, only six times in the previous century had a team won a Test having been dismissed for under 100 in their first innings. England have since done it twice.

Stokes' unbeaten 135 has understandably been described as a once-in-a-lifetime innings, but Kusal Perera did something remarkably similar in February.

Needing 304 to beat South Africa, Kusal was joined by last man Vishwa Fernando with the score 226-9. The Jack Leach of the piece, Fernando was relatively prolific in compiling six not out.

Meanwhile Kusal bludgeoned his way to an unbeaten 153, with 12 fours and five sixes. It secured a one-wicket win from beyond the wildest dreams or nightmares of those involved.

There is not a more daunting pace trio to successfully take to the cleaners in world cricket than Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, as Stokes and his broken helmet will attest. The combination of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier that Kusal faced down comes pretty close.

Like Stokes, Kusal is a white-ball destroyer. He boasts five ODI centuries and 10 T20I fifties. On Monday, he bagged a second straight duck as Sri Lanka were walloped by an innings and 65 runs in Colombo. New Zealand's masterful seam duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee were seldom manoeuvred far from the cut strip.

The hosts' 122 all out demonstrated little of the skill or inclination needed to save a draw with rain around. It had far more in common with England's 67 all out at Headingley on Friday, where Stokes - a picture of dedication and self-denial until his prolonged pyrotechnics in the second innings - played the most abysmal shot of them all.

This is the boom and bust of modern Test cricket. Two sides of the same golden coin.

Twenty20 vision

Once a cash cow and now the untamed money monster, T20 and its global franchise leagues increasingly set the sport's direction of travel.

The international schedule has been tailored accordingly, often in vain, to keep the biggest stars in their country's colours. Preparation, tour matches and the repetition required for mastery when facing the red ball and first-class cricket's particular challenges are all lacking.

It means the likes of Hazlewood and Cummins or Boult and Southee can approach most top orders with glee if conditions offer them anything. Technique and temperament are always likely to be in the bowler's favour.

The other side of this is batsmen think all things can be achieved at all times. Stokes' Leeds barrage has been mentioned alongside the best knocks from greats such as Brian Lara and VVS Laxman. But none of those hallowed names could have called upon the thumping, ramping and reverse-slogging solutions he had to hand.

Stokes, Kusal and their ilk have honed these skills in pressure situations around the world. They know they can pull it off under suffocating pressure.

In what must be a grim realisation, the bowlers know it too. Stokes knew it as Brathwaite made merry. The best riposte can come from mystery spin or extreme pace. See Jofra Archer, another stalwart of cricket's new age making an indelible mark upon its oldest contest.

As schedules become ever more contorted and stretched, with first-class competitions neglected and shunted to the margins, there will be a reckoning for Test cricket that might not be pretty.

In the meantime, we at least get to enjoy this glorious, baffling hybrid of infinite possibility. Cricket featuring all you ever knew producing results you never considered for a moment. What a time to be alive in Ben Stokes' world.

Kusal Perera's blistering century set up Lasith Malinga for a triumphant ODI farewell as Sri Lanka crushed Bangladesh by 91 runs in Colombo.

Malinga laced his bowling boots for the final time in the 50-over format and removed openers Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar with trademark yorkers as Bangladesh' pursuit of 314-8 began its limp towards 223 all out.

The visitors faced such a lofty total thanks to Perera's superb 111 off 99 balls, which featured 17 fours and a six, while Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews played astute hands for 43 and 48 respectively.

Mathews' long-time colleague Malinga was the man the fans had come to see and he did not disappoint, closing the show to huge acclaim as Thisara Perera held a steepler to halt a breezy 18 from last man Mustafizur Rahman – the great fast bowler departing with 3-38 off 9.4 overs, the pick of Sri Lanka's attack one last time.

Malinga's new ball partner Nuwan Pradeep took 3-51 and Bangladesh's Shafiul Islam was another seamer to prosper (3-62).

Shafiul encouraged Avishka Fernando to chase a ball outside off stump and edge to slip, although that brought Kusal Perera into the fray.

He added a brisk 97 in 73 balls alongside Dimuth Karunaratne before the skipper top-edged a sweep off Mehidy Hasan Miraz to Mustafizur to fall for 36.

Mendis was the next willing accomplice for the centurion as they put on 100 for the third wicket, with Kusal Perera reaching his milestone via a four to the midwicket boundary off Mosaddek Hossain in the 28th over.

Sri Lanka's scoring predictably slowed after the returning Soumya accounted for Kusal Perera, who tamely lobbed a catch to Mustafizur at short fine leg, and Mendis feathered Rubel Hossain behind in the following over.

Mathews used all his experience to guide the hosts beyond 300 before falling to Mustafizur (2-75) in the penultimate over.

Malinga - who is set to continue playing T20 internationals - and Pradeep's efforts at the top of the order had Bangladesh tottering on 39-4 in the 12th over.

Mushfiqur Rahim and Sabbir Rahman combined pleasingly in a stand of 111, although the game was up when the latter holed out to Fernando off Dhananjaya de Silva (2-49) for 60.

Pradeep had Mushfiqur strangled down the leg side for 67 and the man of the hour, Malinga, could enjoy his closing spell with the game in the bag.

The second game of the three-match series takes place in Colombo on Sunday.

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