Batsman Lahiru Thirimanne has been recalled into Sri Lanka’s Test squad, with wicketkeeper-batsman Sadeera Samarawickrama also picked in the 17-strong outfit heading to New Zealand for two Tests in December.
Dinesh Chandimal, who missed the last two Tests of the recent series against England with a groin strain, is back to lead the side. His deputy is the opener Dimuth Karunaratne, who has been elevated to vice-captaincy ahead of fast bowler Suranga Lakmal, who led Sri Lanka in Chandimal’s absence against England.
The only major omission is that of offspinner Akila Dananjaya, who is awaiting the results of his biomechanics test, having been reported for a suspect action. Also failing to find a place in the squad is opener Kaushal Silva, who produced four modest innings in the recent series against England. Danushka Gunathilaka, who also had a poor Test at the SSC, and has been in various disciplinary scrapes over the past 18 months, has been selected, however.
The composition of the five-member seam-bowling contingent is largely as expected. Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara, who had both impressed in the West Indies, are in the squad. Dushmantha Chameera, who had a good tour of New Zealand in 2015, has been chosen as well. Senior seamers Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep are in the squad as well. Pradeep has not played a Test for over a year, but that has largely been down to injury concerns rather than form reasons.
Thirimanne, who had had an extended poor stretch before being dropped in 2017, makes his way back into the squad via runs for Sri Lanka A. He had been the highest scorer in the A team tour to Bangladesh in July, having scored 347 runs at an average of 173.5, across four innings. The 23-year-old Samarawickrama, meanwhile, has not been in particularly prolific form in the high-profile domestic competitions this year, but has been picked largely on potential. He had played four Tests toward the end of 2017 and made a high score of 38.
Sri Lanka Test squad: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Danushka Gunathilaka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera