The national selectors sprung a major surprise by dropping Durban hero Kusal Perera from the 15-man squad to face Zimbabwe in a two-match Test series starting this Sunday. Perera who played one of the best Test innings in the history of the game—an unbeaten 153 to take Sri Lanka over the line against South Africa from a seamingly an impossible position has been axed. The decision comes as a huge shock given that he was not given a game in the two-match Test series in Pakistan even though he was part of the 16-man squad that toured the country in December.
Along with him Asitha Fernando who was recalled to Pakistan after Suranga Lakmal pulled out due to dengue fever has also been omitted. Lakmal has come back to the side, having recovered fully. Dinesh Chandimal who hit a half century in Karachi in his comeback game has been retained with Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne and Kusal Mendis.
Dilruwan Perera who was wicketless in Pakistan also been retained along with spinners Lasith Embuldeniya and Lakshan Sandakan.
Sri Lanka Test Squad
Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya De Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha
1st Test – 19-23 January – Harare
2nd Test – 27-31 January – Harare