Sri Lanka announce squad for Australia tour
Atapattu probably closed the door on his international career when he snubbed the selection committee for a second time by turning down an invitation to meet them. Earlier he had pulled out of the home Test series against Bangladesh stating 'personal reasons', and later went on to play league cricket in England.
Atapattu has been out of the national team since the 2007 World Cup, where he did not play any of Sri Lanka's 11 matches despite being a member of the squad. Sri Lanka reached the final of the tournament, where they lost to Australia.
The selectors, who were to leave out Sanath Jayasuriya to accommodate Atapattu, were forced to fall back on Jayasuriya, who is expected to make the Australian series his final one in Test cricket.
Thilan Samaraweera, 31, has earned his recall after playing the last of his 39 Tests in England in 2006.
Chanaka Welegedera, the left-arm fast-medium bowler from Matale, is the only new face in the side. He forced himself into contention with some outstanding bowling performances in the past six months, notably his first ten-wicket haul to bowl the Sri Lanka Invitation XI to victory over Tamil Nadu in the four-day MJ Gopalan trophy tie in Colombo last week. Highly-placed sources said Welegedera is looked upon as a likely successor to the experienced Chaminda Vaas.
Muttiah Muralitharan, who is recovering from an injury to his right bicep, also gets the nod. He is expected to play in the last two ODIs of the on-going series against England, but selection committee sources said that they would not rush him into playing. Murali is chasing Shane Warne's world Test record of 708 wickets and will travel to Australia needing nine wickets from the two Tests to become the highest wicket-taker.
The first Test will be played in Brisbane from November 8-12 and the second Test in Hobart from November 16-20.
Sri Lanka Test squad [subject to Sports Ministry ratification]:
Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Michael Vandort, Chamara Silva, Thilan Samaraweera, Jehan Mubarak, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Farveez Maharoof, Chanaka Welagedera, Muttiah Muralitharan, Malinga Bandara.