An explosive middle-order batsman, and steady right-arm seam bowler, Dasun Shanaka worked his way into Sri Lanka’s T20 side through several seasons of good performances for Sinhalese Sports Club. Born and educated in Negombo, Shanaka made his T20 international debut against Pakistan in August 2015, but it wasn’t until the following domestic season that he achieved wide acclaim. Batting at No. 4 in an AIA Premier T20 match against Saracens Sports Club, Shanaka struck a Sri Lankan record 16 sixes in an innings worth 123 from 46 balls. That wasn’t even his biggest T20 score of the last week. He had hit 131 off 48 balls against Galle Cricket Club one week earlier.
But it was with the ball that Shanaka first made his mark on the international stage. He took 3 for 16 on a Pune greentop, against India, having only taken two domestic T20 wickets before then. He played bright cameos in Sri Lanka’s 2016 World T20 campaign, and in April he was picked in the Test squad – for Sri Lanka’s tour of England – for the first time, largely on his potential, rather than his first-class record.
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