Sri Lanka unchanged for first three ODIs
Sri Lanka's selectors have retained the 15-man squad that beat Pakistan 2-1 for the first three ODIs of the five-match series against India. Sri Lanka, who recovered from losing the first game in Karachi to clinch the recent contest, have now won three ODI series since their 3-2 defeat to India at home in July-August 2008.
The decision means Chaminda Vaas continues to be out of the one-day set-up. The selectors have put Malinga Bandara, Chamara Silva, Mahela Udawatte and Chanaka Welegedara on standby.
Opener Upul Tharanga has been included despite not playing a game in Pakistan. The team-management instead chose to promote Tillakaratne Dilshan alongside Sanath Jayasuriya at the top of the order. Dilshan succeeded in the role, scoring 255 runs - including an unbeaten 137 in the decider - in a performance that clinched him the Man-of-the-Series award. Dilshan's efforts also helped the team put up big totals in the wins over Pakistan, a boost for a batting line-up that had struggled in recent games against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
Sri Lanka's bowling is in sound health. While the focus has been on the spin pair of Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan, their seamers, especially Nuwan Kulasekara and Thilan Thushara, have performed consistently. Kulasekara is currently No. 2 in the ICC ODI rankings. He has taken 40 wickets in 18 ODIs since his return to the team last April.
Mahela Jayawardene said a rest might be due for a few players ahead of the two Tests in Pakistan, scheduled soon after the completion of this series. "Considering the amount of cricket we played in the last three months we might consider resting some players," Jayawardene said. "That's why we picked a squad only for the first three ODIs. We need to see how the guys pull up before we pick the side to Pakistan."
The series begins in Dambulla on January 28.
Sri Lanka ODI squad Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Chamara Kapugedera, Jehan Mubarak, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Thilina Kandamby, Muthiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Farveez Maharoof, Dilhara Fernando, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thilan Thushara, Angelo Mathews.