|| AFP ||
Skipper Dasun Shanaka said Wednesday that Sri Lanka's top batters will need to be among the runs against a strong Indian bowling line-up in three Twenty20 internationals beginning this week.
Sri Lanka come into the opening T20 in Lucknow starting Thursday at the back of a disappointing tour of Australia where they lost the five-match T20 series 4-1.
"We want the top-order to fire. Whenever our top order is among the runs we have a better chance of winning," Shanaka said in the pre-match press conference.
"India have a strong bowling lineup and we are expecting our top order to fire which will give our bowlers a chance to defend."
Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga has been ruled out of the T20 series after he tested positive again for Covid-19. He caught the virus in Australia last week.
Shanaka said they have the bench strength to survive the absence of Hasranaga, who became the costliest Sri Lankan cricketer to be sold in the Indian Premier League auction for $1.42 million to Royal Challengers Bangalore.
"These youngsters have been in the system for a while, they have performed in domestic cricket. It has become normal with the Covid situation (to lose players to the virus)," said Shanaka.
"All the teams struggle with these cases. Wanindu will be a weakness for us but we know that he will be back soon. Still our squad is strong enough."
Shanaka, who is a middle-order batsman and a medium-pace bowler, said he expects a tough battle on the cards despite India being without the rested Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant and the injured Suryakumar Yadav and Deepak Chahar.
"They have got lot of experience with the IPL and have enough international exposure. They are very strong, but we have a good side as well," he said.
The series will be followed by two Tests.