Amerasinghe gets Test call-up
Sri Lanka's selectors recalled bowlers Rangana Herath and Thilan Thushara and batsman Malinda Warnapura, and included fast bowler Ishara Amerasinghe for the two-Test series in the Caribbean next month.
Following the retirement of Sanath Jayasuriya from Tests last year, left-hand batsman Upul Tharanga was expected to fill in the vacant slot, but his poor form sees Warnapura being picked to open the batting with Michael Vandort.
Warnapura, the nephew of Sri Lanka's first Test captain Bandula Warnapura, played in two Tests against Bangladesh last year and has been a regular player in the Sri Lanka A team. Herath and Thushara get their recalls after excellent performances in the domestic circuit.
Herath, the left-arm spinner, played the last of his 12 Tests against Bangladesh in 2005, has regularly been among the wickets in the domestic scene for Moors SC. His match-winning performances have helped Moors SC to third place in the Premier league tournament. In four matches, Herath has captured 19 wickets (avg 15.84).
Similarly, 26-year-old left-arm medium-pacer Thilan Thushara has performed consistently to keep SSC on top of the Premier league table, capturing 18 wickets (avg 20.11) from four matches. He also played an important role in Kandurata ending as Inter-provincial limited-overs joint champs, finishing as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 11 wickets (avg 8.00) from five matches.
Thushara has a solitary Test appearance and that was in the Caribbean five years ago when he played in the second Test at Jamaica and went wicketless conceding 59 runs.
Selection committee sources revealed that Thushara became the obvious choice as another left-arm bowler Chanaka Welegedara is struggling with his follow through in Australia and has so far been overlooked for selection for the VB Series games after being warned in one of the practice matches.
Amerasinghe, 29, a right-arm fast bowler, gets the nod following some impressive bowling in the on-going CB Series in Australia where he has captured six wickets (avg. 24.16) from three matches.
Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have been retained as captain and vice-captain for the tour which begins in mid-March. After the two Tests, Sri Lanka will play West Indies in two Tests at Guyana (March 22-26) and Trinidad (April 3-7). They will also figure in a series of three one-day internationals (from April 10-15) for which there will be changes made to the present squad.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara, Michael Vandort, Malinda Warnapura, Thilan Samaraweera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Silva, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Farveez Maharoof, Ishara Amarasinghe, Rangana Herath, Thilan Thushara