Lasith Malinga set for 200th ODI for Sri Lanka, 2 short of 300 wickets
Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga will play in his 200th One-day International when he marks his bowling run-up against India at the Dumbulla International Stadium on Sunday.
Malinga, who turns 35 in nine days, also needs just two wickets to complete a tally of 300 in ODI cricket. The slinger has taken 298 wickets at an average of 28.39 with seven five-wicket match hauls.
The senior bowler will be vital as Sri Lanka try to bounce back from the 0-3 Test series drubbing against India. Although Malinga’s ODI appearances have been sporadic, he figured in Sri Lanka’s ICC Champions Trophy campaign as well as the home series against Zimbabwe in July, where the southern Africans toppled the home team.
Sri Lanka skipper Upul Tharanga was hopeful his pacers would finish their bowling promptly. Tharanga, deputising for an unwell skipper Angelo Mathews in the ICC Champions Trophy in June, was suspended as skipper because of a slow over rate in the opening game against South Africa.
Tharanga was suspended for two matches after the bowlers took four hours to complete the quota of overs against the Proteas, a good 30 minutes extra. However, Sri Lanka bounced back to defeat India while Tharanga sat out.
Asked about the ban when he last led Sri Lanka, Tharanga said: “We discussed that at length. Even Angelo had similar problems and he had been warned. It’s up to our fielders and especially bowlers. We cannot slow down. In meeting, we discussed how to get things to finish on time. It is important to finish on time without getting banned.”