It wasn’t just that Sri Lanka didn’t have their full quota to choose from. By the third T20I, they got downright funky with team selections. Having stuck with the same XI for the first two games, they decided to give the entire bench a run out for the final contest, making five changes. That, as some noted, effectively made the playing XI a third-choice side, but it wouldn’t prevent the visitors from beating Pakistan by 13 runs. Indeed, the Players-of-the-Match in the second and third T20I were two Sri Lankan batsmen who had never played a single T20I game before this series.
“Some of them [the players] we wouldn’t have seen if Asantha de Mel [chairman of selectors] hadn’t taken the bold decision of playing the five players who hadn’t been part of the side today. We weren’t even sure what combinations we would play, but you saw Oshada Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa in this series because of that.”