Tharanga named in Sri Lanka squad
Upul Tharanga has been rewarded for his 112 in the Board President's XI match against England this week with a place in Sri Lanka's 14-man squad for the first Test at Kandy starting on December 1.
Tharanga is favourite to replace Marvan Atapattu who retired from international cricket after the second Test against Australia at Hobart. Tharanga returned home early from the tour in order to gain some match practice and the decision paid off with an impressive century in England's opening warm-up match.
Malinga Bandara, the legspinner, who was also part of the tour game is named as the second spinner alongside Muttiah Muralitharan. He trapped Michael Vaughan lbw on the final day at the Colombo Cricket Club and his inclusion will allow the Sri Lankans the option of fielding two spinners. However there is no place for Tillakaratne Dilshan, who captained the President's XI but fell for a duck, while Thilan Samaraweera has been dropped.
Sujeewa de Silva, a left-arm fast bowler, takes his place along with the established pace trio of Chaminda Vaas, Dilhara Fernando and Lasith Malinga with Farveez Maharoof ruled out with a stress fracture of his ankle. Vaas is currently on 99 Test caps after being omitted for second Test against Australia, but his chances of reaching three figures have been boosted with Maharoof's injury and the patchy form of Fernando and Malinga.
Fernando has been bowling through the pain of a long-standing ankle injury, but Mahela Jayawardene has said that he will be available for the England series before having surgery next year.
"Dilhara has had that ankle problem for quite some time," said Jayawardene. "He saw a specialist in Australia who has recommended an operation for him, probably for early April when we get a decent break. He had an injection just before we left Australia, so he should be fine for this series."
Squad Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Michael Vandort, Chamara Silva, Jehan Mubarak, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Dilhara Fernando, Lasith Malinga, Malinga Bandara, Sujeewa de Silva.