Vishwa Fernando named in Lanka team

Vishwa Fernando

Uncapped left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando has been named in Sri Lanka’s squad for the three-Test series against India, while Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal miss out due to injury.

Fernando had featured in the Test squads to the UAE and Bangladesh in 2014, but had not been picked to play. He is part of the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI that is playing the ongoing tour game against the Indians in Colombo and took the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha on the second day.

Eranga had been sidelined by a back complaint during the home Tests against Pakistan, and though he had recovered from that injury, he picked up another injury, chief selector Kapila Wijegunawardene said. “He was bowling well in the nets, but there is now an issue with his groin. It’s too early to tell whether he is out of the whole series. We’re waiting on the physiotherapist’s report.”

Lakmal played against Pakistan, but has been ruled out because of a side strain. He and Eranga had been Sri Lanka’s top pace bowlers in 2014, featuring heavily in wins in Dubai and Dhaka. Eranga had also played a pivotal role in the victory at Headingley against England last year.

Dhammika Prasad now leads the pace options in the current squad, with Nuwan Pradeep and Fernando in support. Dushmantha Chameera – who was impressive in his debut against Pakistan – has been named in the squad subject to fitness, however Wijegunawardene said he was “confident Chameera would be ok for the Galle Test”, though “whether we will risk him in that match or not is a decision that’s yet to be made”.

The batting and spin departments feature no major surprises. Lahiru Thirimanne has been retained despite a slim run of Test scores and a score of 5 in the first innings of the practice match in Khettarama. Kithuruwan Vithanage, who played in the first two Tests against Pakistan, has been dropped from the squad. Kusal Perera has been named again, as have Jehan Mubarak and Upul Tharanga, who both played in the third Test in Pallekele.

Spinners Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera and Tharindu Kaushal all find places in the squad. Dinesh Chandimal is the frontline wicket keeper, though Kusal is also an option behind the stumps, if he can find a place in the XI.

The series will be Kumar Sangakkara’s final Test foray. Sri Lanka Cricket has granted free entrance to the Galle Test for school children.

The first Test begins on August 12.

Squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Upul Tharanga, Jehan Mubarak, Kusal Perera, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Tharindu Kaushal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhammika Fernando, Vishwa Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera (subject to fitness) (Courtesy Cricinfo)