Mendis named in first Test squad
International cricket's new spin sensation Ajantha Mendis was named in Sri Lanka's 14-member squad for the first Test against India starting at the SSC on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old Mendis, who bowled Sri Lanka to a 100-run victory over India in the Asia Cup final in Karachi this month, is most likely to make his Test debut and partner Muttiah Muralitharan, the Test world record holder.
Selection committee sources said that Sri Lanka could opt for a 'six batsmen and four bowlers' combination.
Sri Lanka have, however, fallen short in the fast bowling department with Dilhara Fernando also out of the reckoning along with Lasith Malinga and Farveez Maharoof - all recovering from injuries. Fernando, who last played a Test in December, suffered a knee injury while bowling in the three-day match against the Indians which concluded at the NCC grounds yesterday. The selectors have named Thilan Thushara and Nuwan Kulasekara in the squad, one of whom will partner the experienced Chaminda Vaas with the new ball.
While batsmen Michael Vandort, Malinda Warnapura, Thilan Samaraweera and wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene have sealed their spots, there could be a tussle for the No.6 slot between Chamara Silva and Tillakaratne Dilshan. Silva was impressive in the tour game, compiling half-centuries in both innings. Chamara Kapugedera, another middle-order batsman, makes a comeback to the Test squad after an impressive last few months with the one-day team.