Thirty-one year old opening batsman Mahela Udawatte has broken into the Sri Lanka Test squad more than 10 years after his international debut, along with three other uncapped players, Kasun Rajitha, Jeffrey Vandersay and Asitha Fernando.
The fresh entrants are there partly because a number of injuries has afflicted the Sri Lanka talent pool. Regular opener Dimuth Karunaratne is out with a fractured finger, and fast bowlers Dushmantha Chameera and Nuwan Pradeep are out with back and hamstring complaints respectively. Legspinner Vandersay alone has pushed the incumbent out on the strength of his domestic form. He had been better through the provincial four-day competition than left-arm wristspinner Lakshan Sandakan, or so, at least, say the selectors.
Angelo Mathews and Suranga Lakmal were named in the squad but will participate “subject to fitness”. Kusal Perera, who last played a Test in December 2016 in South Africa, was also picked as Danushka Gunathilaka, Dimuth Karunaratne and Lakshan Sandakan missed out after touring Bangladesh earlier this year.
Test squad: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Mahela Udawatte, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Angelo Mathews (subject to fitness), Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru Gamage, Kasun Rajitha, Suranga Lakmal (subject to fitness), Lahiru Kumara, Asitha Fernando
More to follow…