Bangladesh in Sri Lanka 2012-13 March 4, 2013

Sri Lanka name best-available squad for first Test


Sri Lanka have picked their best-available squad for the first Test in Galle after the contracts crisis that threatened to derail the home series against Bangladesh was brought to a swift resolution. Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya, who facilitated the resolution, and his panel, has chosen four uncapped Test players in the squad of 16, in keeping with the panel's vision for building a young team.

Batsmen Kithuruwan Vithanage and Kushal Janith Perera, both 22, have been named in a Test squad for the first time, as has legspinning allrounder Jeevan Mendis. Nineteen-year-old offspinner Tharindu Kaushal is the other uncapped player in the squad, though he had been in a Test squad once before, without playing a match. All four players have been in form in Sri Lanka's ongoing first-class league, while Vithanage sealed his place in the squad with an unbeaten 168 from 165 balls against a full-strength Bangladesh attack, in the tour match in Matara.

Ajantha Mendis, who last played a Test in May 2011, has also been recalled to the side.

All but one of the 23 players who had been locked out for 24 hours by Sri Lanka Cricket over the weekend have on Monday, signed the original contracts SLC had issued to them. Only Mahela Jayawardene has not yet signed, but he is expected to do so as soon as he returns to the country. Jayawardene was not considered for this series as he is nursing a fractured finger, while fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep also misses out through injury.

Thilan Samaraweera has been omitted from the final squad, despite having been drafted into the preliminary squad after Jayawardene's injury ruled him out of the series. Samaraweera had a woeful tour of Australia, scoring only 79 runs in 6 innings, but has since been prolific in first-class cricket. He has made 464 runs at an average of 92.8 in four matches in the Premier League Tournament.

Offspinner Suraj Randiv is the other major omission, having been Sri Lanka's second Test spinner for throughout 2012, but indifferent form at the top level has resulted in him losing his place. Ajantha Mendis, who replaces him, has also had recent success in domestic cricket, while Kaushal's debut domestic season has been phenomenal in all formats. He leads the league with 41 wickets from five matches at 14.02 apiece, and has six five-wicket and two ten-wicket hauls to his name.

Among the new batsmen, both Perera and Jeevan Mendis have made double-hundreds in the last three weeks, while Vithanage has an average of 75.25 over five innings.

Fast bowler Dhammika Prasad cannot find a place in the squad, having played two Tests on the tour of Australia, but Suranga Lakmal, who arrived as a replacement, retains his place. Shaminda Eranga and Chanaka Welegedara have also been named.

The two-Test series against Bangladesh will be Angelo Mathews' first assignment as Test captain. The first Test begins on Friday March 8, with the second to be played at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal (vice-capt, wicketkeeper), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Shaminda Eranga, Kushal Janith Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Ajantha Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara, Chanaka Welegedera, Suranga Lakmal, Rangana Herath, Tharindu Kaushal.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    mind u guys bangladesh won the 5 match odi series against full strentght west indies team and wt20 champions , and their was no sakib , so it wont affect bangladesh at all insha allah , young guy like anamul riyad gazi will destroy srilanka insha allah just watch

  • Vihanga on March 6, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    @All_The_Way- I'm a decent fan of all Cricket. Sri Lanka was good enough to win a WC just after 13 years of full membership. BAN did have it's moments with WI and a couple of fluke wins over India and Sri lanka to get to the Asia cup finals. Mind you SL and India both were tired after months and months of cricket in AUS and SL didnt even have a day to relax and get themselves together after they arrived in BAN. Also SL was hit with many injuries: Mathews, Perera. and had to cope with people like Maharoof who didnt provide the same flare. I dont see you have the capabiity of achieving a feat to shake off the minnows tag yet. So you might have a few wins here and there and a couple of series wins over minnows but i honestly dont see BAN becoming what SL was after 13 years of test cricket NOW. Sorry dude. What your team needs is unity like Arjuna provided for SL. I dont see a leader like that in your unit. It's not all about talent you know.

  • Rakitha on March 6, 2013, 1:09 GMT

    I'm so impressed with decisions made by new selection committee headed by Jayasuriya. They have given opportunities to youngsters who are in form while keeping some seniors as well. This is something former selection committees should have done. But they always gave opportunities to their favorites like Kapugedara, Chamara Silva, Dilhara Fernando and never wanted to see talents of young blood. Since this is a tour against Bangladesh this is the best chance to give opportunities to youngsters. So no point playing Samaraweera here. We should always play Sanga as he's our best batsman anyway Dilshan can be only considered for short format games. When Mahela returns to the team only Sanga and Mahela can be played along with young batsmen in test team. My XI for the 1st Test- : 01) Dimuth, 02)Dilshan, 03)Sanga, 04)Thirimanna, 05) Mathews, 6)Kithuruwan Vithanage, 07)Chandimal, 08)Kulasekara, 09)Herath, 10)Eranga, 11)Tharindu Kaushal

  • Amaan on March 5, 2013, 22:07 GMT

    A team consisting of players averaging 23 yrs old scored 400+ runs against BD. What else is there to say??

  • kamal on March 5, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    My Sri Lankan team for the 1st test: Dilshan, Karunaratne, Sangakkara, Thirimanna, Mathews, Chandimal,Jeevan Mendis, Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis, Herath, Welagedara

  • Chris on March 5, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks - Yeah that's why are batsman took your future bowlers with ease like it was a T20 game. Don't get too confident us Bangladesh fans don't joke around and mean what we say that this Bangladesh team is changing and that :)

  • Dark on March 5, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    Yeah guys... Bangali Tigers will give SL's a fight... They wont give up till the end... SL is a weak side without the big names.... Sanga might hit 200 but other's will go down to Gazi Magic... Next best spin bowler in the world after shane & murali....

  • Vihanga on March 5, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    Wow. I m so not watching this series. The results are already imprinted and i doubt a Shakib-less unit can cope with SL in SL. The tournament is a whitewash guys. Save the excitement for the Champions trophy in England. Can't wait for SL to arrive here. I also think Mahela and Dilshan should be rested from this entire tour and Kumar dropped from Limited Overs Cricket.

  • Divine on March 5, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    Well, a sweet reminder: this promising side of "minnow Bangladesh" didn't let SL & India go into the final of Asia Cup. It's not ancient history. I admit the test record of BD team is poor. It's really weird SL fans being mean to a neighbouring cricket nation! Whereas I have noticed that SL players got very decent attitude. Obviously SL will win but I'm expecting a good contest for the sake of Cricket!

  • Muhammad Rakibul on March 5, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    I think it's best chance for Vithanage to make his debut. He made Bangladeshi bowlers worked hard to bag his wicket & eventually they failed to dismiss him. Btw, BD can fight back against Lankans despite there's no hope for Test win for tigers.

  • No featured comments at the moment.