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Wounded combatants prepare for final act

06 September 2016

Dilshan and Starc will be two key players in the T20 series // Getty Images



Australia and Sri Lanka, both hit by injury, prepare for the first of two T20 tonight

Retiring 'Dilscoop' inventor Tillakaratne Dilshan has a last chance to showcase the audacious shot that bears his name when Sri Lanka play Australia in two Twenty20 Internationals, starting tonight.

The Sri Lankan's cheeky ramp shot, in which he goes down on one knee and flicks the ball over the wicketkeeper's head, has plagued bowlers and inspired fellow batsmen since he unveiled it in 2008.

Fans have a final opportunity to see the 39-year-old - and with luck, his famous 'Dilscoop' - when Sri Lanka take on Australia in Pallekele tonight (from 11.30pm AEST) and in Colombo on Friday.

The Dilscoop at its best

Australia are fresh from a convincing 4-1 victory over Sri Lanka in the One-Day Internationals, which comes after their 3-0 defeat in the Test series last month.

After announcing his retirement during the ODIs, Dilshan did not get a chance to show off the 'Dilscoop' in front of some raucous home crowds, thanks to some tight bowling from the Australians.

He will now be keen to unleash it in the T20s.

Few players have shots named after them, but Dilshan's overhead paddle shot has ensured his place in cricketing history.

"The Dilscoop, I first tried in 2008 in South Africa against Australia because I knew nobody could stand behind the wicketkeeper," Dilshan recalled after playing his last ODI match last week.

"I practised it and then played it in the 2009 World Cup against Shane Watson and it went for a six and that shot gave me lot of courage. I'm happy there's one shot under my name in my long cricketing career," said Dilshan.

Dilshan, who batted in almost every position before finally settling as a fast-scoring opener, has racked up 87 Tests, 330 ODIs and 78 T20s during a stellar 17-year career.

David Warner's Australia are looking to keep up their winning momentum going into the last leg of a two-month tour of the island.

Australia seal series in emphatic fashion

But Australia's injury list has grown after the ODIs, with explosive opener Aaron Finch (finger) and Chris Lynn (shoulder) joining Shaun Marsh (finger) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (back) out of the squad.

Finch, who will perform 12th-man duties in the T20s, broke his index finger during the fifth and final ODI in Pallekele while Lynn dislocated his shoulder during a team practice session.

With regular skipper Steve Smith and Mitchell Marsh rested, the visitors have asked wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade and ODI star George Bailey to stay back for the final two games.

Wade, who will stay on for both matches, and Bailey, for one of them, have countered the sluggish Sri Lankan pitches with aplomb in the ODIs.

"In these conditions you're going to have to sweep, you need to use your feet, you're going to have to watch the ball hard on to the bat where you can't leave the ball because one is going to skid on," Warner said on tackling Sri Lankan conditions.


Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Chamara Kapugedara, Milinda Siriwardana, Kusal Mendis, Seekkuge Prasanna, Sachithra Senanayake, Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera, Sachith Pathirana, Kasun Rajitha, Dasun Shanaka

Australia: David Warner (c), George Bailey, Scott Boland, James Faulkner, John Hastings, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa