November 4, 2003

Zoysa back in Sri Lankan ODI squad

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Nuwan Zoysa and Nuwan Kulasekera, an uncapped 21-year-old swing bowling allrounder, were included in a 16-man squad for England's three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka. Zoysa and Kalalsekera form part of a new-look pace attack as Sri Lanka reorganise their fast-bowling resources in the wake of injuries to Dilhara Fernando and Prabath Nissanka.

Russel Arnold Russel Arnold breaks back into Sri Lanka's ODI squad

Nissanka is unavailable until next year following surgery to his knee, while Dilhara is feeling his way back tentatively from his latest back injury. Their misfortune means another chance for Zoysa, who last played for Sri Lanka in August 2002 and recently pulled himself back into contention with a fine allround display for the Sri Lanka A team in South Africa.

Chaminda Vaas will lead the attack, which means that Zoysa, Kulasekera and Dinusha Fernando, who is enjoying a fine domestic season with bat and ball, will then be competing for one - or possibly two in suitable conditions - place. Sri Lanka are likely to play three specialist spinners - Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Dharmasena and Upul Chandana.

An extra fast bowler may play at Dambulla, the venue for the tournament opener on November 18. "The makeup of the final team will depend on the conditions, which may suit the pace bowlers more than you would expect in Sri Lanka," said Marvan Atapattu. "During the last tournament in Dambulla there were favourable conditions for pace bowlers."

In all, there are five changes to the squad that defeated West Indies 2-1 in the Caribbean last June, Sri Lanka's last international tour. Naveed Nawaz and Dharshana Gamage have been dropped, while Kaushal Lokuarachchi is unavailable because of his suspension after a car-crash.

The batting order is unlikely to change greatly, in composition or strength. Romesh Kaluwitharana will open with Sanath Jayasuriya, at least at the start, with Atapattu at three, Kumar Sangakkara at four and Mahela Jayawardene at five. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Russel Arnold, recalled after a good tour to South Africa, will probably play at six and seven.

Lanka de Silva has been called up as wicketkeeping cover for Kaluwitharana, who is recovering from a hamstring injury and is expected to be fit. Chamara Silva, back in favour after an excellent start to the season with SSC, his new club, will act as batting cover.

England are due to arrive in Sri Lanka on November 13 for a six-week tour that will include three ODIs - at Dambulla, Premadasa and SSC - followed by three Tests.

Squad Marvan Atapattu (capt), Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Russel Arnold, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Chandana, Kumar Dharmasena, Nuwan Zoysa, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chamara Silva, Nuwan Kulasekera, Chaminda Vaas, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Lanka de Silva, Dinusha Fernando