Boards add T20s to SL's Zimbabwe tour schedule
Sri Lanka Cricket has confirmed its national team will travel to Zimbabwe for a full, 35-day tour, which begins on October 3. The boards have added two Twenty20s to the Future Tours Programme's schedule of two Tests and three ODIs. Sri Lanka will also play a two-day warm-up match before the Tests.
Both Tests and the first two ODIs will be played at the Harare Sports Club, before the action moves to the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo for one ODI and the Twenty20 matches. The two-day match will also take place in Harare, although the opposition team has not yet been decided.
Sri Lanka are likely to experiment on the tour, continuing their focus on regeneration in this year. Angelo Mathews will lead the team in his first away Test series as captain, and Twenty20 captain Dinesh Chandimal is also in a similar situation.
However, Sri Lanka may temper their quest to blood youth with a desire to provide match practice to the senior players, in a lean year of Tests. The team has not played Tests since the Bangladesh tour in March, and have a major tour against Pakistan at the end of the year. Excluding the Test against Pakistan in Dubai, which begins on December 31, Sri Lanka have only five Tests in their 2013 schedule.
Zimbabwe will have had more Test-match practice this year, having played two matches in the West Indies in March, as well as two Tests at home, against Pakistan, in September. They will also play two Twenty20s and three ODIs against Pakistan in the ongoing tour.
SLC has also named a 27-man preliminary squad for the tour, from which 15 players will be selected. Major omissions from the side are left-arm fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara and Test-specialist wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene, who was also left out of the squad for the Bangladesh series. Dinesh Chandimal is likely to keep wicket in his stead.
Sri Lanka preliminary squad: Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Rangana Herath, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Ajantha Mendis, Kusal Perera, Angelo Perera, Udara Jayasundera, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Dhammika Prasad, Vimukthi Perera, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Sachithra Serasinghe, Ashan Priyanjan, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Kaushal Silva, Dilruwan Perera, Kosala Kulasekara, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Isuru Udana.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here