Sri Lanka’s selectors have axed opening batsman Kaushal Silva and top-order batsman Kusal Mendis from the 15-member squad named for the three-match Test series against India that gets underway later this month.
Silva, who made a comeback in the two Test series in UAE against Pakistan, made 67 runs in four innings with a top score of 27. Mendis, meanwhile, since making a hundred against India in the second Test at SSC, had gone through 13 innings without a half-century and was dropped from the ODI side after the second game in Abu Dhabi.
Former captain Angelo Mathews returns to the side after recovering from a hamstring injury that ruled him out from the UAE tour. There was no place for middle-order batsman Asela Gunaratne. A spokesman for SLC said that although Gunaratne had been declared fit, the selectors were concerned about his match fitness.
Middle-order batsman Dhananjaya de Silva, who captained Sri Lanka ‘A’ in West Indies recently makes a comeback to the senior side.
Fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep was overlooked from the Tests due to fitness concerns but he is expected to be brought back into the side for the ODIs. All-rounder Dasun Shanaka also has been named in the Test squad.
There was no place for leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay as the selectors backed chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandakan to partner veteran Rangana Herath and off-spinner Dilruwan Perera.
Sri Lanka will leave for India on Wednesday and will have eight days prior to the first Test in Calcutta during which they will play a warm-up game The second and third Tests will be played in Nagpur and Delhi.
Sri Lanka were whitewashed by India 3-0 at home in August, but bounced back to win 2-0 in UAE ending Pakistan’s unbeaten run in the gulf. Top-order batsman Lahiru Thirimanne has been named Dinesh Chandimal’s deputy.
Sri Lanka have never won a Test match in India. Their last tour to India was in 2009 for a three Test series which they lost 2-0.
Sri Lanka Test squad: Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Dimuth Karunarathne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrema, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Lahiru Gamage, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Niroshan Dickwella (Wicketkeeper) and Roshen Silva