Chandimal, Mendis dropped for Pakistan Tests

Niroshan Dickwella sweeps AFP

Sri Lanka have left out wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal and spinner Ajantha Mendis from their 15-man squad for the Pakistan Tests starting next week. Fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep returns to the squad after missing the recent South Africa Test series due to injury and youngster Niroshan Dickwella keeps his place as wicketkeeper after an impressive debut earlier this week. Lahiru Thirimanne remains the vice-captain, though he was dropped for the previous Test against South Africa.

Chandimal had lost his place in the XI for the second Test against South Africa after a poor outing in Galle, prompting a surprise call-up for the 21-year-old Dickwella, who had been in England with the Sri Lanka A side before having to dash back to Colombo to make it in time for his Test debut. Chandimal has joined the A squad in England. Prasanna Jayawardene, who was the first-choice wicketkeeper till he got injured before the second Test against England in June, was still not 100% fit.

Mendis' exclusion was not surprising after being the least impressive of Sri Lanka's three spinners in the SSC Test when they were denied victory by a superb stonewalling effort from South Africa. Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews had bluntly said, "He had a quite a bad game," after a wayward Mendis had match figures of 0 for 85 on a surface made for spinners.

Fast bowlers Suranga Lakmal and Shaminda Eranga have been included, but subject to fitness. Eranga had split his webbing in Galle and was left out for the SSC Test, while Lakmal had complained of soreness in his foot after the SSC Test.

The first of two Tests against Pakistan begins in Galle on August 6.

Squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thrimanne (vice-capt), Kaushal Silva, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Shaminda Eranga (Subject to fitness), Suranga Lakmal (Subject to fitness), Chanaka Welegedara, Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Pradeep