There was no room, however, for batsmen such as Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Oshada Fernando, who had both impressed in the series against Pakistan last year. Opener Danushka Gunathilaka continued to be unavailable through injury.
Thisara last played a T20 international back in March last year, and has been overlooked since then largely on account of poor returns. He appears to have regained form in the past week, however, playing two important lower-order innings in the ongoing ODI series against West Indies, in addition to doing a decent job with the new ball. With him in the squad, Sri Lanka have three seam-bowling allrounders to choose from, with Angelo Mathews and Dasun Shanaka retaining their places.
On the fast-bowling front, Sri Lanka opted for the experience of Nuwan Pradeep over Kasun Rajitha, who has been omitted. Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana and Lasith Malinga are the other frontline options. Wristspinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Lakshan Sandakan headline the slow-bowling contingent, with left-arm spinning allrounder Shehan Jayasuriya and offspinning allrounder Dhananjaya de Silva also around.
The first of two T20Is, both of which will be hosted by Pallekele, is set to be played on March 4, after the ongoing ODI series concludes. Sri Lanka have already won the ODI series 2-0, with one game to play.
Sri Lanka squad: Lasith Malinga (capt.), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara