Karunaratne, Pradeep in SL Test squad to Australia
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne has been named in Sri Lanka's squad to Australia for three Tests, the first of which begins in Hobart on December 14. Fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep also finds a place in the squad, but 19-year-old offspinner Tharindu Kaushal, who is with the team for the ongoing home series against New Zealand, has not been named. Pradeep is the only addition to the squad for the New Zealand Tests, and is one of five quick bowlers in the 16-man party to Australia.
Left-handed Karunaratne, 24, made a first-innings duck on debut in the Galle Test against New Zealand, but bounced back to score a run-a-ball 60 not out in the second innings to complete Sri Lanka's 10-wicket victory. He had earned his Test debut after an impressive tour of South Africa with the Sri Lanka A team, in which he was the leading run-scorer, having made 270 runs in two unofficial Tests, at an average of 90. He opens the batting for Sinhalese Sports Club in first-class cricket, alongside Tharanga Paranavitana, who was also named in the squad to Australia.
Pradeep has played three Tests for Sri Lanka, two of which were in July against Pakistan. Shaminda Eranga, who came back from an injury layoff in Galle to take three wickets in the New Zealand first innings, has retained his place, as has Nuwan Kulasekara. Chanaka Welegedara and Dhammika Prasad are the other seam bowlers, while Rangana Herath and Suraj Randiv will provide the spin options.
Fast-bowling allrounder Thisara Perera has not been named. He took four wickets and made 75 in the last Test he played in July. He had also bowled well in Australia in an ODI tri-series earlier in the year. Lahiru Thirimanne, who bats in the middle order in limited-overs cricket, also misses out. Both men are on standby, alongside allrounder Jeevan Mendis, and spinners Akila Dananjaya and Ajantha Mendis.
After Hobart, Sri Lanka play at the MCG in the Boxing Day Test, before moving to Sydney for the New Year Test. Their tour begins with a warm-up match in Canberra on the 6th of December.
Sri Lanka Test squad: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Angelo Mathews (vice-capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Tharanga Paranavitana, Thilan Samaraweera, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara, Shaminda Eranga, Suraj Randiv, Dinesh Chandimal, Chanaka Welagedara, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhammika Prasad, Dimuth Karunaratne
On stand-by: Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Akila Dananjaya, Ajantha Mendis