Lasith Malinga included in the squad for Sri Lanka // Getty

Malinga returns to SL T20 squad

Sri Lankan slinger set for international return after being named in squad to face Australia in a three-match series

Lasith Malinga is set to make his long-awaited return to international cricket in the T20 series against Australia.

Malinga was today named in a 15-man squad for the three-match KFC T20 INTL series, with Upal Tharanga named Sri Lanka's new skipper in lieu of the injured Angelo Mathews.

Malinga last played international cricket more than 12 months ago, taking 4-26 against the UAE in an Asia Cup T20 match before again succumbing to injury.

He injured his left knee during the West Indies' tour of Sri Lanka in November 2015 and has struggled to prove his fitness ever since. The Asia Cup match was his comeback, but was short lived as Mathews took over the captaincy.

The bone bruise on his left knee forced him to miss both the World T20 and the Indian Premier League last year and while he returned to training last September, his route back to top-level cricket has been a cautious one as the veteran slowly increased his workloads to avoid aggravating the injury.

Malinga still holds the KFC Big Bash League record for the best bowling figures, having taken 6-7 against the Perth Scorchers in a BBL|02 match for the Melbourne Stars.

However, Sri Lanka will be without skipper Mathews for the series due to a hamstring injury, with selectors confirming on Monday he would miss the series.

Mathews suffered a hamstring problem in a T20 against South Africa last month.

While he was replaced as skipper by Dinesh Chandimal for that match, Tharanga will lead the team in Australia, having replaced Mathews as skipper for the ongoing ODI series against the Proteas.

Chanidmal has been dropped from the Sri Lanka T20 squad that claimed a historic T20 series win over South Africa last month.

Having lost the first match of the series, the tourists held their nerve to win the second and third games with two balls and one ball remaining respectively.

In-form opener Niroshan Dickwella was their star of their T20 triumph, while left-arm spinner Lakshan Sandakan also impressed in his maiden T20 outings.

The Sri Lankan squad will arrive in Canberra next Monday (the 13th) before they take on the Prime Minister's XI on February 15.

The T20 series against a new-look Australian side will include matches at the MCG (Feb 17), Kardinia Park in Geelong (Feb 19) and Adelaide (Feb 22).

Sri Lanka squad: Upal Tharanga (c), Niroshan Dickwella, Asela Gunarathna, Dilshan Munaweera, Kusal Mendis, Milinda Siriwardena, Sachith Pathirana, Chamara Kapugedara, Seekuge Prassanna, Nuan Kulaskera, Isuru Udana, Dasun Chanaka, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Malinga, Vikum Sanjaya.