COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Five things to know about the Sri Lanka team to play at the World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh:
THIRD TIME A CHARM — Sri Lanka has twice reached the World T20 final but so far failed to win the title. First was against Pakistan at Lord's in 2009, then three years later the West Indies clinched a memorable victory to disappoint the home crowd at Colombo. The Sri Lankans now believe they're peaking at the right time and will be brimming with confidence after clinching the Asia Cup earlier this month — also in Bangladesh — by winning all its matches in the ODI tournament.
THE BIG THREE— Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan all are likely to feature heavily in what will almost certainly be their last World T20 events. The trio boasts a wealth of international experience and features in one of the strongest batting lineups in the tournament. They are among the top four run-scorers in the World T20s, each having played 25 matches. Jayawardene has scored 858 runs in the four previous tournaments — 194 runs ahead of West Indian power-hitter Chris Gayle (664) and well clear of Dilshan (632) and Sangakkara (590).
YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE — Dinesh Chandimal was last year selected as Sri Lanka's youngest T20 captain at the age of 23. Although Chandimal averages just 13.36 in 23 international Twenty20s, his lack of runs is mainly because he usually goes to the crease when Sri Lanka needs quick scores in the late overs. But Chandimal has proved he has enough batting resources to raise or chase a substantial total with the likes Angelo Mathews hitting cleanly down the order.
MALINGA AND MENDIS — Lasith Malinga's toe-crushing yorkers and the unorthodox spin of Ajantha Mendis are the most powerful bowling weapons in Sri Lanka's armory. Malinga is equally dangerous with both the new ball and in the late overs, making it difficult for batsmen to cut loose. Mendis can deceive batsmen with his spin and often keeps a batsman tied down with his impeccable line and length. Malinga has already signaled his rich form ahead of the World T20 by claiming two five-wicket hauls against Pakistan in the Asia Cup.
PHENOMINAL FIELDING — Sri Lanka's agility in the field can be compared with the benchmarks set by test powers South Africa and Australia. Unlike their other Asian rivals, Sri Lanka makes opposition batsmen work hard to score boundaries or convert singles into twos.