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News

Mendis, Dickwella and Thirimanne return to Sri Lanka Test squad

Legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay has also been included in the squad, which is without the injured Ramesh Mendis

Lahiru Thirimanne is set to resume his partnershup with Dimuth Karunaratne at the top of the order  •  Getty Images

Lahiru Thirimanne is set to resume his partnershup with Dimuth Karunaratne at the top of the order  •  Getty Images

Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Lahiru Thirimanne have returned to the Test fold, and Jeffrey Vandersay has earned a red-ball call-up, as Sri Lanka named a 17-man squad for the upcoming two Tests against India.
The series will be the first in the longest format for Mendis and Dickwella following the lifting of their bans, which were handed down for breaching curfew and bio-bubble protocol during Sri Lanka's tour of England last year. Vandersay's inclusion, meanwhile, means he is in line to earn his first Test cap, having made his limited-overs debut in 2015.
Thirimanne, meanwhile, had opted out of Sri Lanka's last Test series, against West Indies in November, to attend the birth of his second child. Prior to that, he had been in a rich vein of form, having registered four fifties and two centuries in his last 11 innings.
This means there's no room for Oshada Fernando, Minod Bhanuka, Roshen Silva and Lakshan Sandakan. The uncapped trio of Kamil Mishara, Suminda Lakshan and Chamika Gunasekara, who had been included in an expanded squad for the West Indies series, also miss out.
The rest of the squad holds no surprises. Dimuth Karunaratne leads it, and will open the batting alongside Thirimanne, while the middle and lower order will hold some combination of Mendis - whose availability remains in doubt, as he is nursing an injury - Pathum Nissanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Dickwella and fast-bowling allrounder Chamika Karunaratne.
Ramesh Mendis, who had starred with his offbreaks against the West Indies, was also included in the squad but has been ruled out with a thumb injury that he sustained in training during Sri Lanka's tour of Australia. This makes the likelihood of de Silva making the starting XI a little more probable, as he is the only other spin-bowling allrounder in the squad.
The frontline spinners in the squad are the left-arm pairing of Praveen Jayawickrama and Lasith Embuldeniya, and legspinner Vandersay. Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera and Vishwa Fernando make up the fast-bowling contingent.
The Test series will be Sri Lanka's first in India since 2017, when they lost a three-match series 1-0. The last time Sri Lanka beat India in a Test match was in 2015, while you have to go back to 2008 for the last time they won a entire series. Sri Lanka are yet to register a Test win India.
The first Test will take place from March 4 to 8 in Mohali, and the second from March 12 to 16 in Bengaluru.
Sri Lanka squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Pathum Nissanka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya de Silva (vice-capt), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Charith Asalanka, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Chamika Karunaratne, Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya