The selectors have named five players, who are yet to play their first test, in Sri Lanka’s squad for the first test against Australia which is set to commence on the 26th of July at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
Lahiru Thrimanne, who had a torrid time with the bat in England, has been dropped while Suranga Lakmal seems to have recovered enough to find himself a place in the squad. Milinda Siriwardene, who lead the Sri Lankan XI against Australia in the practice match, has also been dropped.
The squad consists of three spinners and four fast bowlers while eight batsmen make the rest of the squad.
Roshen Silva, whose selection into the national squad was long overdue thanks to his brilliance performance at the domestic level, finally found himself a place in the Sri Lankan test squad following his phenomenal performance in New Zealand and England. The right-handed middle-order batsman scored 109 versus Durham last month and he had scored 120 not out against New Zealand A last year. The 27-year-old has played 87 first-class games, scoring at an impressive average of 50.58.
Despite failing to get a single game in the test series against England, Dhananjaya de Silva, once again, has managed to earn a spot in the team and he will have to battle it out with Roshen Silva for the only remaining spot in the batting lineup. The right-handed batsman, who has already played in the Sri Lankan colors in T20Is, smashed a swashbuckling 81-ball 119 in the list A game against Derbyshire recently. De Silva is also a canny off-spinner and was the highest run getter and wicket taker for his club- Tamil Union- in the last premiere league tournament.
Lakshan Sandakan, who would go on to become Sri Lanka’s first chinaman bowler if given a debut, is one of the three spinners in the squad along with Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera. Sandakan picked up a fifer in the tour game against Derbyshire for Sri Lanka A and was also the highest wicket-taker during the last premiere league tournament.
IN: Asitha Fernando, Vishwa Fernando, Roshen Silva, Lakshan Sandakan
OUT: Lahiru Thirimanne, Milinda Siriwardane, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Shaminda Eranga, Chaminda Bandara
INJURED: Dhamikka Prasad, Dushmantha Chameera
Left-arm fast bowler Vishwa Fernando and right-arm fast bowler Asitha Fernando have also received a national call-up following their decent outings in England. Asitha Fernando, an eighteen-year-old pacer, was also a part of Sri Lanka’s U19 squad that played in the U19 world cup. The rookie bowler shot to limelight when he picked up a five-wicket haul to help Sri Lanka A prevail over Pakistan A in a first-class game in England.
The left-arm pacer, Vishwa Fernando, has been in the Sri Lankan squads for some time since 2014 and was one of the few fast bowlers who have been earmarked by Chaminda Vaas as future prospects.
Niroshan Dickwella also misses out from the squad. Though he was part of the touring squad to England, the wicket-keeping batsman failed to get an opportunity in any formats. Dasun Shanaka, who debuted in the first test match in England, has also been dropped from the squad.
Sri Lanka’ squad for the first test: Angelo Mathews (C), Dinesh Chandimal (VC), Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Asitha Fernando, Vishwa Fernando.