<
>

Tharanga opts out of Test cricket for six months

Sri Lanka's limited-overs captain Upul Tharanga has opted out of Test cricket for six months in order to focus on the white-ball formats. The outgoing selectors, headed by Sanath Jayasuriya, did not name Tharanga among the 25 in the provisional Test squad for the forthcoming games against Pakistan in the UAE.

Tharanga has been modest in Tests this year with 430 runs from eight matches, but has been successful in ODIs with an average of 47.21 - even as he has presided over two 0-5 whitewashes at the hands of India and South Africa.

The squad is expected to be trimmed to 15 by the next set of selectors, who are yet to be named.

Notably, fast bowler Dhammika Prasad, who expected to be fit following a hiatus of almost two years due to a major shoulder complaint that required surgery, is in the squad. Also included are Kaushal Silva, who was dropped after the South Africa tour, and Sadeera Samarawickrama - the top-scorer from this years' first-class season.

The provisional squad also features spin bowlers Akila Dananjaya and Jeffrey Vandersay, in addition to Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan Sandakan. Allrounder Asela Gunaratne and batsman Kusal Perera remain injured.

Provisional squad: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Niroshan Dickwella, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Jeffrey Vandersay, Milinda Siriwardana, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dushmantha Chameera, Dilruwan Perera, Malinda Pushpakumara, Roshen Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Charith Asalanka, Shaminda Eranga, Dhammika Prasad