The national selectors have named a strong 17-man Sri Lanka Test squad for the forthcoming three-match West Indies tour.
Former Captain Angelo Mathews and fast-bowler Suranga Lakmal, both have been named in the squad subject to fitness while 31-year old left-handed top order batsman Mahela Udawatte has been named in the touring party as a replacement for injured opening batsman Dimuth Karunarathne.
Udawatte made his limited-overs debut in 2008 but never represented Sri Lanka in the longest format of the game. He made 283 runs at 56.60 during the recently concluded SLC Super Provincial four-day tournament and chipped in with two good knocks – 71 and 116 during the ongoing SLC Provincial limited-overs competition.
“Udawatte is a one-to-one replacement for Dimuth. He got the nod ahead of the others because he has been scoring runs and been in good nick. Even though he has not played much international cricket in the recent past, he has a wealth of experience playing domestic cricket.” Chief Selector Greame Labrooy exclusively stated to ThePapare.com.
Rookie seamers, Asitha Fernando and Kasun Rajitha have also earned call-ups after strong showings in the recent domestic competitions.
Rajitha who has played 3 T20Is for Sri Lanka in the past captured 10 scalps in 2 matches at 20.50 in the SLC Super Provincial Tournament and impressed the selectors with his bounce and seam.
20-year old Fernando who has one ODI under his name have been in the Test squads in the past but not won the Test cap. He took 6 wickets in 3 matches in the ongoing Provincial limited-overs competition and was the highest-ranked fast bowler in the most wicket-takers list during in the inter-club first-class tournament with 33 wickets in 8 games.
“We picked them (Asitha & Kasun) purely on their recent performances and potential, as they have shown great promise in the recent matches. With Dushmantha Chameera and Nuwan Pradeep out due to injury, we want to give them some experience at the highest level before the World Cup next year.” Labrooy further stated.
Hard-hitting wicket-keeper batsman Kusal Janith Perera has also been named in the squad. He has always been a regular member in the limited overs setup but last played a Test match in 2016 against South Africa. Right-arm leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay has also been picked to bolster the spin department.
Full Squad – Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Suranga Lakmal (Subject to Fitness), Angelo Mathews (Subject to Fitness), Kusal Mendis, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Mahela Udawatte, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru Gamage, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Asitha Fernando.
Sri Lanka’s schedule in the West Indies
- Tour match: May 30 – June 1, Brian Lara Cricket Ground, Trinidad
- First Test: June 6-10, Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad
- Second Test: June 14-18,, Darren Sammy Cricket Ground, St. Lucia
- Third Test: June 23-27 Kensington Oval, Barbados (D/N)