A mural of late Australian cricket superstar Shane Warne in Sydney
A mural of late Australian cricket superstar Shane Warne in Sydney. Image Credit: AFP

Colombo: The two-Test series between Australia and Sri Lanka in Galle will be dedicated to the legendary Australian leg spinner Shane Warne, who died in March following a suspected heart-attack in Thailand.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), along with the country’s ministries of tourism and sport have reportedly invited Warne’s family members for the opening Test and, a report in dailymirror.lk said on Sunday that they have given their consent.

Both the Tests will be played in Galle - June 29-July 3 and July 8-12 - and Sri Lanka’s tourism minister Harin Fernando said the CEO of Cricket Australia (CA) has confirmed that Shane Warne’s family members will be attending the match.

Australia have won the three-match T20I series against the hosts 2-1, and the five-match One-day International series will begin at Pallekele on June 14.

Australia are having several injury issues ahead of the ODI series with Mitchell Marsh ruled out of at least a couple of games due to a calf injury and pace spearhead Mitchell Starc too laid low by a freak injury to his bowling finger.

Though Australia won the T20I series, Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka left an unforgettable mark on the third and final T20I with his whirlwind 54 not out off just 25 balls to take the hosts to a four-wicket victory with a ball to spare.

Shanaka a talking point

Shanaka’s knock, laced with five fours and four sixes with a whopping strike rate of 216, ensured that Sri Lanka scored 59 runs off the final three overs to win the match, which is also the most scored by any team to win a men’s T20 match in the last three overs, surpassing the previous record of 56 by Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League (BBL).

“At the initial moment when I went out to the crease, so I took a few balls to get in. I think my strike rate was around 50. I read the wicket really well, and kept my wicket in the other side without throwing it away. And in the end, I was hoping I’d be able to finish the game. Toss is always important in Sri Lanka, and maybe it wasn’t the best decision to bat first. We hope to take this momentum forward into the ODI series,” said Shanaka after the match, adjudged ‘Player of the Match’.

Shanaka’s blinder to avoid a series whitewash at home also got praise from Australia skipper Aaron Finch, who bagged ‘Player of the Series’ award and was happy with how the visitors fared in the series. “I’m happy with our performance throughout the series, it was just an unbelievable knock by Dasun tonight.”