Allrounder Thisara Perera and fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara have been included in Sri Lanka’s 15-man squad for the first Test against Pakistan. Allrounder Jeevan Mendis, who is yet to earn a Test cap, has also been picked. Angelo Mathews has been named vice-captain, replacing Thilan Samaraweera who was the second in command in Sri Lanka’s last Test series, against England in March-April.
Left-arm fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara, who was ruled out of the second Test against England in that series with a groin injury, also returns. That means Sri Lanka will field a new-look pace attack: Suranga Lakmal, Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Pradeep and Shaminda Eranga – who had come in for the injured Welegedara – have not made it to this squad. Batsman Lahiru Thirimanne has also missed out.
Perera had not played the Tests against England, the last of his five Tests being against South Africa in January. He was Man of the Series in the recently concluded ODIs against Pakistan, and this has seemingly prompted his inclusion in the Test squad. Following his six-wicket haul in the second ODI, Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford had said that Perera could establish himself in the Test side, if he could replicate that bowling performance with more consistency.
Kulasekara has not played a Test since the rain-marred home series against West Indies in November 2010, while Pradeep has played just the one Test, against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi last October. He was picked for the tour of South Africa that followed, but tore a hamstring during a warm-up game and had to fly home. He returned to competitive cricket in March, playing a first-class game for Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club. The Test begins on Friday in Galle. (Cricinfo)
1. Mahela Jayawardena (Captain)
2. T M Dilshan
3. Tharanga Parnavithana
4. Kumar Sangakkara
5. Thilan Samaraweera
6. Dinesh Chandimal
7. Angelo Mathews (Vice Captain)
8. Prasanna Jayawardena (Wicket Keeper)
9. Chanaka Welagedara
10. Suraj Randiv
11. Rangana Herath
12. Nuwan Kulasekera
13. Nuwan pradeep
14. Thisara Perera
15. Jeewan Mendis