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Thisara Perera hoping Sri Lanka's switch stays flicked

Sri Lanka came to life during their 219-run DLS thrashing of England in the fifth ODI and Thisara Perera suggested his T20 side would be on the attack again

Thisara Perera plays behind square, Sri Lanka v England, 4th ODI, Pallekele, October 20, 2018

Thisara Perera plays behind square  •  Getty Images

Fresh from piling on 366 against England in the final one-dayer, Sri Lanka are hopeful the tables they turned on Tuesday will remain upended, that the boots will stay switched, and that their batsmen will continue their plunder in the T20 on Saturday. Sure, victory in the fifth ODI came in a dead rubber against a substantially weakened England side, but its emphatic nature - the 219-run DLS win was Sri Lanka's biggest this decade - has injected fresh energy into what had been an ailing limited-overs side.
In particular, Sri Lanka may seek to target England's key bowlers. In the fifth ODI they succeeded in taking more runs off legspinner Adil Rashid than they previously had in the series. Sri Lanka's new T20 captain Thisara Perera said an aggressive approach against Rashid could pay dividends again.
"If you take the last game, whatever we wanted to do against Rashid worked, I thought," he said. "We wanted to be positive against him. When we have that mindset we can put a bowler under pressure. So we urged the batters to go out and play positively. But we also kept an eye on the variations to expect from each bowler."
The batsmen who began Tuesday's onslaught were Niroshan Dickwella, who has had a good limited-overs leg of this tour, and Sadeera Samarawickrama, who made his maiden international fifty. The pair put on Sri Lanka's first century opening stand since July 2017, and may have the opportunity to provide more early-overs fireworks. Because Kusal Perera remains sidelined with a quad strain, Samarawickrama has been brought into the squad, and will likely open the innings again.
"We gave them the last couple of games hoping to get a good start, because we have to give players opportunities often," Thisara said. "I thought they grabbed it by both hands. We have just a few games before the World Cup and we hope to settle on a side, rather than allowing new players to come in and find places."
On a personal note, Thisara believes the T20 captaincy came back to him on account of his much improved batting and bowling form in 2018. He had been T20 limited-overs captain for a stint in late 2017, before being replaced by Angelo Mathews in the role, but now takes the job back from Mathews. Having had three poor years between 2015 and 2017, Thisara has made an emphatic recovery this year, and averaging 37.66 and striking at 176 with the bat, even if his bowling in the shortest format hasn't been as good as it has been in ODis.
"Captaincy was not something that I expected," he said. "I was keen on representing the country, and captaincy came to me as I became senior. I was taken out as captain this year, but when I started performing again I was entrusted with leadership again. If I can perform as a player and continue to lead the side I will be happy with that."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf