CB Series, 2007-08 January 14, 2008

Sri Lanka opt for pace in one-day squad

Chanaka Welegedara impressed on his Test debut against England © Getty Images
Sri Lanka have banked on pace for the CB Series in Australia after naming six fast bowlers in their 15-man squad for next month's tournament which also features India.

Chaminda Vaas, with 387 one-day wickets, heads the pack which also includes Lasith Malinga, Farveez Maharoof, Nuwan Kulasekera, Chanaka Welegedara and Ishara Amerasinghe.

Left-armer Welegedara made his Test debut in the recent England series and has taken the place of Dilhara Fernando who is recuperating after undergoing an ankle operation. By naming six quicks the Sri Lankan selectors have only one genuine spinner in the squad - Muttiah Muralitharan.

During Sri Lanka's last triangular tournament in Australia, the 2005-06 VB Series, legspinner Malinga Bandara played a pivotal role supporting Muralitharan. He ended up as the second highest wicket-taker with 14 scalps and helped Sri Lanka finish runner-up to Australia, losing the best of three finals 2-1.

"Bandara was not considered because he played all his matches of the 2005-06 tournament only as a super-sub. He was actually not part of the final XI," a selection committee sourcerevealed. "If Sri Lanka need more spin options they have Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dilruwan Perera, who both bowl off-breaks."

Bandara's place has gone to the Amerasinghe who, like Perera, has appeared in only one ODI. Perera will also play the role of third opener alongside Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga.

Selection sources also said that Dilshan was picked as a middle-order batsman and will not open despite scoring heavily in the domestic limited-overs tournament from that position.

Chamara Kapugedera earns a recall while Kumar Sangakkara will resume wicketkeeping duties after playing as a specialist batsman in recent Tests against Australia and England.

Sri Lanka leave for Australia on January 24 and play two warm-up games against a Prime Minister's XI at the Manuka Oval on January 30 and against Tasmania in Hobart on February 2. They then meet India in their opening match of the CB Series in Brisbane on February 5.

Sri Lanka squad
Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Dilruwan Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedera, Chanaka Welegedara, Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera, Muttiah Muralitharan, Farveez Maharoof, Ishara Amerasinghe.