Sri Lanka in South Africa 2011-12 November 22, 2011

Ajantha Mendis included in Test squad for SA

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ajantha Mendis has been included in Sri Lanka's 16-man Test squad for the tour of South Africa in December ahead of the offspinner Suraj Randiv. There was no place for the experienced batsman Thilan Samaraweera, who continues to be ignored after having been axed for the Pakistan series as well.

The squad also includes fast bowler Dilhara Fernando - who last played a Test on the England tour - in place of the injured Dhammika Prasad. Fernando, Chanaka Welegedara, Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal complete the Sri Lanka pace attack with Rangana Herath the second spinner.

Mendis missed the home Test series against Australia because of a back injury he sustained during the preceding ODI series and also missed the UAE tour. Randiv played the Sharjah Test against Pakistan, taking 2 for 95.

Samaraweera's omission for the second straight tour puts a question mark over his career. Duleep Mendis, Sri Lanka's chairman of selectors, had earlier said Samaraweera would not figure in the long-term plans of the selectors who intended to give more opportunities to youngsters. Sri Lanka adjusted to his absence against Australia by batting the captain Tillakaratne Dilshan in the middle order while Lahiru Thirimanne opened with Tharanga Paranavitana. They persisted with the same combination for the first two Tests against Pakistan, before Dilshan returned to the top as Thirimanne was dropped for the Sharjah Test.

Wicketkeeper Kaushal Silva, who made his Test debut in that series, has been included in place of the injured Prasanna Jayawardene. Allrounder Kosala Kulasekara lost his spot to Thisara Perera while the batsman Dimuth Karunaratne was also included.

Sri Lanka play three Tests in South Africa followed by a five-match ODI series. The first Test starts in Centurion on December 15.

Sri Lanka squad: Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), Angelo Mathews (vice-capt), Tharanga Paranavitana, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Kaushal Silva (wk), Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Chanaka Welegedara, Dilhara Fernando, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Tharindu on November 25, 2011, 9:51 GMT

    I don't know whether we are seeing another Chaminda Vass scenario with Samaraweera. I don't mind if Sri Lanka give rests to senior players & play more & more youngsters in ODI's or T20's. But tests I think experience is a key factor. Just look at Indian test team, they are consisted most by the most experience players. For example Raina made his test debut after about 100 ODI's sure he's a real talent. But India persist with their old blogs with more experience in Tests.

    Also I don't get what the Sri Lankan Cricket says, they want to win a test match & performance in batting is not good but they also want try youngsters when they're leaving out a man whose bat avg. is over 52 & I consider he's the backbone of the test team relieving most of the pressure from Sanga & Mahela.

    So Samaraweera's out from the SA tour means we'll see another pathetic display by SL team. Hope they will do better than the Aussies in 2nd Inns of the 1st test.

  • Dummy4 on November 24, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    This is rubbish..If they are dropping Samaraweera a youngster like Chandimal should replace him..If youngsters are not getting selected (Chandimal will be the water boy for whole tour) what`s the point of dropping Samaraweera ? True he struggled a bit out side asia but same with Mahela..not to forget that SL dont get too many chances to play in Aus & SA for UNKNOWN reasons.

  • Dummy4 on November 24, 2011, 15:48 GMT

    I ma expecting a 3-0 & a 5-0 defeat for SL as a Sri Lankan..If we can win at least a 1 ODI that would be a HUGE achievement..My only wish is BIASED selctors will give a chance to Mathews,Chandimaol,Lahiru,Dimuth & etc

  • Dark on November 24, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    Result would undoubtedly be TEST 3- nill, ODI 5- nill. Please give the captaincy to Anjelo Matthiews if you r looking for long term plans

  • Dark on November 24, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    Oh my my... just go through Samaraweeras stats... Do we have a better batsmen when it comes to the longer version of the game???? He is as good as Dravid, Kallis, Hussy... What the hell is wrong with these stupid selectors???? why is Dilshan captaining the side again???? havent he done enough to ruin our game???? how many more series do we need to lose for our selectors to realize that we need a change???? Chandimal is digging his own grave... Please change the captaincy... Dilshan is not suitable for the job... he is not a natural leader.. and he doesnt learn from his mistakes either.. Look at the downfall of SL team after Sangas era....

  • Orang on November 24, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    Let's not be so pessimistic, S.Africa's attack is basically all pace except Imran Tahir, unlike the varied Pakistan attack. If the opening burst can be seen off, the likes of Sanga and Mahela could do well, but the question is whether the Lankan openers can cope with the fury of the opening burst. As for the bowling, the S.Africans are not such good players of spin , see how even the inexperienced Nathan Lyon picked up veterans like Smith and Prince. Randiv should definitely have been chosen.

  • Sanjay on November 23, 2011, 21:48 GMT

    Do you think we'll win the warm up match in South Africa? That's all I care about....pls. win the warm-up match, it will go down in history. No-one will remember the Tests.

  • Sage on November 23, 2011, 18:50 GMT

    Are you kidding me? Is this the team going to face South Africa? Our front line batsmen cannot face Pakistan bowlers and will they survive with Stern, Morkal and the South African pace bowlers. I have feeling the test matches will not last more than 4 days and the limited overs will be one sided. Only Sanga might play well but our openers, Dilshan and Mahela will struggle. Dinesh Chandimal was very disappointing. Why Dilshan is made captain when he has not contributed? I have feeling most of senior players will have to retire after the South African tour. Our ratings in test and ODI has come down n will go down further after this tour. Tilan should be in the team. Why do you take Chamara Silva for limited overs? Don't we have someone better? Please let Sanga captain the side.

  • Johnathon on November 23, 2011, 16:17 GMT

    Poor Samaraweera. He must have had an argument with an important person. I hope that maybe Dilshan/Mahela can snap back in form and Mendis bamboozles South Africa. Honestly, those guys along with Sanga are our only hope of not being embarassed

  • Sami on November 23, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    Guys before bashing around Samaraweera's exclusion, think for a moment, there must be a reason he is not getting picked, his form is fine, so what could it be?? Maybe some exchange of words? Discipline? Something??

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