Karunaratne returns to Test squad
Opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne has been called up to Sri Lanka's Test squad following a three-match layoff after the England tour. Binura Fernando, an uncapped 19-year old left-arm seamer, has also been added to the squad for the second Test against Pakistan. Sri Lanka team management had earlier said Fernando was essentially in the squad only to perform 15th man duties, but a selector has since said he will be considered for the XI.*
The pair are replacements for fast bowlers Nuwan Pradeep, who had twisted his ankle during a training session, and Suranga Lakmal, who had been ruled out of the series with an ankle injury. SLC said Shaminda Eranga had also been "nominated" for the match, subject to his managing a hand injury sustained during the Galle Test against South Africa.
Karunaratne's inclusion leaves Upul Tharanga's place at the top of the order in doubt, after Tharanga hit only one half-century in the six innings since he replaced Karunaratne in the side. Karunaratne had made 127 runs at 31.50 on the tour of England before he had been dropped. Angelo Mathews had said the selection panel had been disappointed Karunaratne had not converted his starts into bigger scores, during his time in the team. He averages 30.47 in Tests after 25 innings.
Eranga bowled 45 overs in the first Test against Pakistan, but was seen receiving treatment on the boundary after many of those overs. He had needed eight stitches between the thumb and index finger of his bowling hand, after he split the webbing there while fielding.
Though he will not play, Fernando has largely been picked on the strength of his performances for DS Senanayake College and the Sri Lanka Under-19 team. Known for his ability to generate awkward bounce from a height of 6'7", and swing the ball, Fernando has been among the leading schoolboy-cricket names over the past two years, claiming 84 wickets in the 2013 season.
*August 12, 2014 0425 GTM: Article has been amended to reflect new information from SLC