Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga and left-arm wrist-spinner Lakshan Sandakan have been named in a strong 15-man squad for the three-ODI series, which will be followed by two T20Is.
Sri Lanka and the West Indies have been priced at 1.66 and 2.20, respectively by bet365 to win the series. Sri Lanka are also favourites at 1.66 to win the first ODI, which will be played at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo on Saturday.
Arthur on Sandakan and Hasaranga
“The key to the wrist-spinners, and to playing both of them together, is genuine wicket-taking options for us through the middle,” said Arthur.
“That is the key, and that's what wins you white-ball cricket games now. We want to play that brand of cricket. We are looking to attack and looking to take wickets. I think that's the future for this team. I think in terms of our preparation, that's been the message.
“The message has been around attacking. We don't want to play defensive cricket anymore. That will be reflected in our selection. If the two wrist-spinners can do the job for us tomorrow, that will be fantastic, because they will take wickets.
“Wanindu is a fantastic cricketer. The way he bowls – the control of his length has been amazing. I've really marveled at watching him go about his business. That, coupled with his batting ability, and his fielding, he's making a real name for himself. Sandakan, obviously, has been around the system a lot longer.”
Batsman Oshada Fernando and Danushka Gunathilaka were not named in the squad due to injury. Opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne has returned as captain, while all-rounder Thisara Perera has been recalled. Perera has not played international cricket since the middle of last year.
“The thing about our batting is that there is a license at the top of the order. You've got Kusal Perera and Avishka Fernando at the top of the order – dynamic. Kusal Perera will bat three. Avishka will open with Dimuth. They will have a licence to get us away in that powerplay period,” added Arthur.