Eranga omitted for first two NZ one-dayers
Shaminda Eranga, the Sri Lanka fast bowler, has been left out of the squad for the first two ODIs against New Zealand later this month. Newcomer Ashan Priyanjan, the 24-year-old middle-order batsman, and oppener Dimuth Karunaratne, who played the last of his two ODIs in 2011, have both been included in the 16-man squad.
Eranga has had moderate success in ODIs so far, averaging 27.93 in 13 matches, and his results in 2013, and in the recent first-class tournament, do not suggest a serious dip in form. He struggles to make the XI in home ODIs when Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera are fit, but has in the past been preferred to Suranga Lakmal, who has been named in this squad.
Karunaratne and Priyanjan enter the side through the force of their List A performances in 2013. Test opener Karunaratne hit 271 runs at an average of 90.33 in a recent three-match series against New Zealand A, while Priyanjan averaged 44.
Karunaratne's presence in the squad will intensify competition for the second openers' position, with Kusal Perera's international form having cooled since his arrival at the top level. Upul Tharanga's inconsistency has seen him left out.
A busy right-hander who plays for Ports Authority Cricket Club, Priyanjan has been a regular A team player, particularly since Sanath Jayasuriya became chief selector in 2013. Having arrived at the professional level with plaudits from junior cricket, Priyanjan has earned a reputation for improving steadily - notably with the seam-bowling that has seen him used increasingly as an allrounder.
Spin bowlers Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake and Ajantha Mendis have all been named in the squad, having all also played against South Africa in the team's last ODI series. Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne will likely comprise the middle order, alongside captain Angelo Mathews.
Both ODIs will be played in Hambantota, with one more to follow, in Dambulla. A two-match Twenty20 series is also scheduled.
Squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Ashan Priyanjan