June 9, 2003

Chandana's heroics fail to win him Test berth

Upul Chandana's matchwinning performance with the bat in the second one-day international at Bridgetown, which helped Sri Lanka storm to a dramatic series-clinching four-wicket win, came too late to earn him selection into the 16-man Test squad, which was named today.

Chandana and Naveed Nawaz, a middle-order batsman yet to play in the series, will return home after the final game in St. Vincent on Wednesday. They will be replaced by Hashan Tillakaratne, captain of the Test squad, Thilan Samaraweera, an offspinning allrounder, and Thilan Thushara Mirando, an uncapped left-arm pace bowler.

Samaraweera, 26, returns to the Test squad after recovering from a hand injury that ruled him out of the recent drawn home series against New Zealand. He is yet to cement a regular berth despite a bright start to his international career that began in 2001. In 10 Tests so far, he has scored 581 runs at 83, and taken 11 wickets at 30.54.

For the 22-year-old Thushara, it will be his second tour with the national squad. He was included after Dilhara Fernando failed to recover from a lingering injury in his lower back. Thushara as taken 103 wickets in 42 first-class matches.

The Test specialists will leave Colombo today, and will arrive in the West Indies well before Sri Lanka's three-day warm-up match in St. Vincent on June 14. The first Test starts in St. Lucia on June 20, while the second one will be played in Jamaica from June 27.

The squad
Marvan Atapattu, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Hashan Tillakaratne (capt), Romesh Kaluwitharana (wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vaas, Dharshana Gamage, Prabath Nissanka, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Kumar Dharmasena, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dinusha Fernando, Thilan Samaraweera, Thilan Thushara Mirando.