Sri Lanka in England 2014

Lakmal out of Test squad; Welegedara recalled

Andrew Fidel Fernando

June 2, 2014

Comments: 20 | Text size: A | A

Chanaka Welegedara catches a ball during a practice session in Galle, ahead of the Test series against Bangladesh, Bangladesh tour to Sri Lanka, Galle, March 6, 2013
Chanaka Welegedara has the chance to resume his Test career after a gap of 18 months © AFP
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Players/Officials: Suranga Lakmal | Chanaka Welegedara
Teams: Sri Lanka

Injured fast bowler Suranga Lakmal has been left out of Sri Lanka's Test squad to England, allowing the return of left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara Test squad, 18 months after he played his most recent Test.

Nuwan Kulasekara, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Pradeep and Dhammika Prasad, who are already in England, form the remainder of the pace battery, with Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera providing the spin options.

Among the batsmen, Dinesh Chandimal retains his place in the Test squad, while Prasanna Jayawardene returns to take the gloves. Opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne also holds on to his place, alongside Kaushal Silva, but middle-order batsman Kithuruwan Vithanage has been omitted.

Sri Lanka team management had hoped Lakmal would recover from his grade two hamstring tear in time for the Lord's Test, but it now appears he will not be available for the first match. The bowler only began running work on Monday, but will likely be added to the squad if he regains fitness quickly enough.

The loss of Lakmal is a significant blow to Sri Lanka, who had planned for him and Eranga to lead the pace attack in the Tests. Both bowlers had showed vast signs of improvement in the four Tests they played together this year.

Welegedara, 33, had his Boxing Day Test in 2012 cut short by a hamstring tear, and had since been plagued by more injuries, which prevented him from playing more than four first-class matches in the 2014 domestic season. He took six wickets in those games. He and Kulasekara are the most experienced pacemen in the squad, with 20 Tests apiece. They are also the only bowlers to have played Tests in England.

Karunaratne and Kaushal will likely open the innings, though Lahiru Thirimanne is also in reserve for that role. Thirimanne's recent promotion to vice-captaincy, though, means he is almost certain to be in the playing XI, likely displacing Chandimal from the middle order. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene are set to take their places at Nos. 3 and 4, with captain Angelo Mathews to follow at either No. 5 or 6.

Offspinner Perera's impressive turns in the UAE and Bangladesh this year have been enough to safeguard his second spinner's spot, but he is the least experienced bowler in a green Sri Lanka squad. Eight of the 15 players have never played Tests in England, including captain Mathews.

The series will be Mathews' first Test assignment out of Asia since being given the captaincy.

Sri Lanka squad Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Chanaka Welegedara, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhammika Prasad

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by premilrd on (June 5, 2014, 8:46 GMT)

Pls dont destroy Chandimal. let him play his natural game at suitable position

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 8:25 GMT)

If Sri Lanka are looking to the future, I would go with Chandimal with the Gloves. His teat batting record is FAR better than his ODI record. The man needs confidence and burden of vice captaincy not being on him will free him up. (I hope)

Posted by VikumHerath on (June 3, 2014, 19:46 GMT)

Keep the most experienced young resource, who had excelled in those seaming bouncy conditions to play in SL-A team! Simply, because his batting average in such countries is beyond any other SL player in history, but doesn't have the "Luck" to be considered in SL!

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 8:03 GMT)

SL continue to omit young talents like Dananjaya, T. Kaushal, Vimukthi Perera, Ishan Jayaratne etc. And the young talents that they do have, they have mishandled. Chandi and Thiri are too young to be captain or vice captain. After nearly 2 years, they finally figured that out concerning Chandimal. But now they have made the mistake of burdening Thirimanne. And already he seems to have succumbed to the burden with some poor showings. Mathews has done OK as captain, but the vice captain should be someone more experienced, like Malinga or Kulasekara .

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 7:37 GMT)

Tharindu kausal omission is questionable! hope he will get a chance against SA! And happy that fans get behind chandi! hope he will get chance to bat at thilan place (number 5)

Posted by Udendra on (June 3, 2014, 6:25 GMT)

Saw someone mention about Tharindu Kaushal. Yes, it's hard to understand why he doesn't get a chance, despite a brilliant FC record. May be the English conditions?

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 2:29 GMT)

Welagedara can be a match winner at times. Remember what happened in Durban test in last South Africa tour. He is the one who started the slide in SA's first innings. He and Lakmal in partnership bowled well in last England test series but we did not have a proper third seamer to back them up. Still I am not sure how effective he will be coming back from injury. Chandimal is very unfortunate. Thirimanne has not done much this tour to merit selection to the test team. Yet again the vice captain issue is creating a selection quandary. Further, Thirimanne has become an easy victim for Anderson. I am sure England will expose that. On the other hand they have also worked out some weakness of Chandimal against short pitched bowling at the body.

Posted by Jeewaka9999 on (June 3, 2014, 2:01 GMT)

There is no point of selecting Kulasekara in test team . He is not a wicket taking bowler. ODI 152 matches 168 wickets. Test 36 innings 46 wickets. Does we need a bowler who has taken 1 wkt per inning. Poor selection . This is unfair for upcoming fast bowlers. We need to find a good real fast bowler. We trust Kulasekara swing in England . but as usual he has taken 5 wickets in 4 matches so far . poor selection

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 1:24 GMT)

How will Sri Lanka take 20 wickets in Test matches when their best wicket-taking options are not selected? Ajantha Mendis should have been selected - his strike rate is among the top this year and with Herath's vulnerability to his ageing injury, with Lakmal out injured and Malinga unavailable, it should have been obvious to Sri Lankan selectors play their best possible attack. It wasn't that long ago when Sri Lanka struggled to bowl sides out.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 0:14 GMT)

Sri Lankan selectors are not intelligent enough to handle these talented bunch of players. First, they appointed none starting XI player, Chandimal as the captain of T20. They ruined his T20 career. Not only T20, ODT career up to some extend. Then, they have appointed none starting XI player for test, Thiri as Test vice captain. This forced to bench Chandimal who has better test record.. His recent test record is good. Appointing Thirimanna as vice captain of all format is not good decision. Since Mathews has so many years left, some senior like, Nuwan, Rangana could be appointed as vice captains of relevant formats and give these young players to get experience and cement their place in the team. After couple of years, these guys can be given responsibilities.

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