By Bipin Dani
Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal has been ruled out of the first Test against South Africa which begins today.
"He failed the fitness tests and will not be playing the first Test," Team Manager and the Selector on Tour Ashantha de Mel said from Pretroria.
Unlike Australia and India, also playing a Boxing Day Test, Sri Lankan team management has not announced the final eleven.
"It is always good to announce the composition of the final XI on the day of the Test,” de Mel said.
"The team had optional training on Friday and a few players did go to the ground for practice. All foreign coaching staff members were present."
Sri Lanka took an extended squad for the tour of South Africa, considering the restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and captain Dimuth Karunaratne said on Wednesday that in the event Lakmal does not play, they could turn to either Kasun Rajitha or Asitha Fernando to fill that position.
Sri Lanka will hope to replicate the success they enjoyed the last time they toured South Africa in February 2019, when they became the first Asian team to win a Test series in South Africa.
They will be without Oshada Fernando, who was part of that series win, for at least the first Test, as he is yet to fully recover from the ankle injury he sustained during the recently concluded Lanka Premier League.
Kusal Janith Perera is expected to take on Fernando’s opening role, partnering captain Dimuth Karunaratne.