Sri Lanka have announced a 15-member squad for the first Test against Australia at Pallekele. In a major revamp, the selection committee included a slew of untested players to infuse freshness to the team.
As a result, senior batsman Lahiru Thirimanne paid the price for his inconsistent run of form. Surprisingly, spin bowling all rounder Milinda Siriwardana did not manage to retain his place despite a good start to his Test career.
The hard-hitting Dasun Shanaka will need to wait before adding to his solitary Test cap as focus turned towards the specialists. Severely depleted by injuries to key personnel, the bowling department sports an inexperienced look with pacers Vishwa Fernando and Asitha Fernando called from Sri Lanka’s ‘A’ tour to England.
All of 18-years, Asitha tore through the Pakistan ‘A’ batting lineup in a remarkable spell of 5/33 which handed victory for his side while Vishwa might offer a left-arm option in the seam attack.
Joining them would be chinaman exponent Lakshan Sandakan who has shown immense promise at the first-class level. In the absence of Dhammika Prasad and Dushmantha Chameera, the new-ball duo of Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep will be under considerable pressure.
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However, Rangana Herath’s experience and guile should bring stability to a Sri Lankan side which is dealing with a grueling transition period. Following their dismal performance in England, a return to the comfort of home soil will soothe the nerves of skipper Angelo Mathews.
The team management could face a dilemma of assigning wicket-keeping duties due to the presence of both Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Perera. Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva will continue to open for the hosts.
Named after the top two wicket-takers in the game’s traditional format, the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy begins from the 26th. Having had only a single Test victory against Australia, the Lankans will hope to rectify the record in the upcoming series.
Full Squad: Angelo Mathews (C), Dinesh Chandimal (VC), Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Nuwan Pradeep,Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga LakmalPublished 21 Jul 2016, 20:23 IST