Since ICC Champions Trophy winning skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and his Pakistan unit knocked Sri Lanka out of the eight-nation tournament on June 12th, there has been a lot of off-field tension in Sri Lanka Cricket during the last fortnight with the Head Coach Graham Ford resigning, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara bashing the fitness levels of all national cricketers and a suspended sentence being handed out to the most experienced bowler Lasith Malinga for a breach in contract.

The five most memorable ODIs between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe

As the Lions take on Zimbabwe in 5 One-day internationals starting on the 30th of June..

But, it’s now time to turn all attention towards cricket as the five-match ODI series between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe begins tomorrow, 30th June at Galle International Cricket Stadium.


The last time Galle hosted an ODI was back in 2000 and Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews welcomed the return of ODI cricket to the famous Test venue built facing the famous Dutch Fort in the center of the city, We are excited to play one-day cricket in Galle. We will be playing there after so many years, so it will be a great occasion.” Mathews said.

In the past 50 encounters between these two countries, Zimbabwe has never beaten Sri Lanka in an ODI in Sri Lanka and so are looking to make history this time around as they are here for a bilateral series after 16 years.  Last year during Sri Lanka’s tour to Zimbabwe, the visitors comprehensively clinched the tri-series which involved West Indies as well.

The last time these two sides met in Sri Lanka was during the 2011 ICC World Cup campaign where Sri Lanka crushed the Africans by 139 runs after openers TM Dilshan (144) and Upul Tharanga (133) put on a record 282-run stand.

Zimbabwe is ranked 11th in the ICC ODI rankings with only 46 rating points while Sri Lanka is languishing at the 8th place with 93 points. The hosts need a five-nil whitewash to improve their rankings and overtake Bangladesh into the 7th place to ensure automatic qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019. Only the top eight-ranked ODI teams by September 30th, 2017 will automatically qualify for the next world event in England in two years.

Read : What ails Sri Lanka cricket?

Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankans have left out a couple of senior players in Dinesh Chandimal, Thisara Perera, Chamara Kapugedera and Nuwan Kulasekara from the team which exited in the group stages of the Champions Trophy and named a 13-man squad mixed with plenty of experience and raw talent for the first two games.

It is a perfect platform for the youngsters like Wanindu Hasaranga, Akila Dananjaya and Lahiru Madushanka to deliver with the guidance of Mathews, Vice-captain Upul Tharanga, who will slot back into the side after serving a two-match suspension, and senior bowling spearhead Malinga.

All eyes will be on the 19-year old leg-spinning all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga, who is set to debut and bat at number 7. Cricket Manager, Asanka Gurusinha spoke highly of the former Richmondite, saying, “He’s one of the best fielders in Sri Lanka right now. He’s batting well; he’s in form and has the option of leg-spin bowling so that’s one of the reasons why we have picked him”.

With 3 specialist opening batsmen named in the team, wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella will probably drop to number 3 followed by Kusal Mendis at number 4. Upul Tharanga will partner up with Danushka Gunathilaka at the top of the order.

Nuwan Pradeep and Lasith Maliinga will be the fast-bowling duo while Sri Lanka might look to throw in both spinners, Lakshan Sandakan and Akila Dananjaya on a surface known to be the most spin-friendly pitch in Sri Lanka.

Probable XI – Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews (Captain), Asela Gunarathne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep.

Read More : Galle – Forgotten ODI Tales


Before coming to Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe travelled to Scotland where they drew 1-1 and defeated the Netherlands 2-1 in their own backyard. Prior to that, they lost a five-match series at home to Afghanistan 3-2 in February.

With not many international fixtures available for Zimbabwe, the upcoming series will be the ideal opportunity to have a settled unit before the 2018 ICC World Cup qualifier to be held in Ireland and Scotland in April.

“We had some good preparation coming into the series and I am looking forward to a lot of guys who can pull around. The future of Zimbabwe cricket is brighter if we keep doing the right things.” Zimbabwe Head Coach Heath Streak said at the pre-tour press conference in Colombo a few days ago.

The experience of Hamilton Masakadza will be the key for the visitors along with the fire-power of opening batsman Solomon Mire. Players like Sean Williams, Craig Ervine, Sikander Raza and PJ Moor should set up their game and score the bulk of the runs in the middle order while skipper, leg-spinner Greame Cremer and seamers, Tendai Chatara and Christopher Mpofu have plenty to offer with the ball.

Probable XI – Solomon Mire, Hamilton Masakadza, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Sikander Raza, Ryan Burl, PJ Moor, Malcolm Waller, Greame Cremer (Captain), Tendai Chatara, Christopher Mpofu.

පිටියේ කතා – සිම්බාබ්වේ එක්දින තරගාවලියට ශ්‍රී ලංකා සංචිතය කෙසේ මුහුණ දෙයිද?

Weather and Pitch Conditions

The weather forecasts predict scattered thunderstorms on Friday with strong winds.  With it being a day game, the teams could find it difficult to bowl the entire 100 overs with bad light also expected to be a factor. The pitch will definitely help the spinners but the batsmen should have no problems whatsoever on what is generally a belter of a surface.