The new selection committee headed by Asantha de Mel yesterday announced a 17-man squad for the two-match Test series against New Zealand starting next month at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. The test series will begin on December 15.
While most of the players who played in the three-match Test series against England have retained their places, the selectors have brought in Lahiru Thirimanne—a left handed top order batsman and Sadeera Samarawickrema in to the side. Thirimanne who made his Test debuta against England is 2011 is considered a technically sound player and often compared with batting geat Kumar Sangakkara.
Thirimanna who has played 29 Test scoring 1153 runs at 23.06 with one century and half century, last played a test against India in November last year. After scoring 9 and 23 runs in the Test, he felt out of selectors radar. However, he scored heavily against Bangladesh in a series played last June. Samarawickrema meanwhile has played four tests in his short international career with his last one against India last year.
Dinesh Chandimal who missed the last two Tests against England due to groin injury has recovered and ready to lead the side. Suranga Lakmal, the regular vice-captain of the side, has been stripped of the title and has appointed Dimuth Karunaratne in his place. In batting front, Kushal Silva who had a miserable series against England, has been dropped from the side along with spinner Akila Dananjaya who is under ICC radar for a suspected bowling action. Left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakuamara also did not find a place in the side which includes only two spinners in Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan Sandakan. The team includes five fast bowlers in Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera. Lahiru Kumara was part of the Sri Lanka squad for the England series but was sent home even before the tour kicked off on disciplinary grounds.
Sri Lanka will leave for New Zealand on December 4, 2018 and will play two test matches, before commencing the limited overs version of the tour.
The 1st test will commence on the 15th December, 2018 at the Basin Reserve, Wellington, while the 2nd test match will commence on the 26th December, 2018 at the Hagley Oval, Christchurch.
SQUAD: Dinesh Chandimal – Captain, Dimuth Karunaratne – Vice Captain, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya De Silva, Angelo Mathews, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera