Angelo Mathews has been ruled out of the Test series against South Africa with a hamstring injury but has been picked for the Test series against England. Meanwhile, the selectors have picked Wanindu Hasaranga, Minod Bhanuka, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, and Santhush Gunathilaka in the team.
Sri Lanka, after a gap of nine months, are in the closing stages of playing an international match and have announced their team for both the England home and South Africa away series. However, they have suffered a jolt in the form of Angelo Matthews who is recovering from a hamstring injury he sustained during the recently-concluded Lanka Premier League.
Opening batsman Oshada Fernando has the same situation as Mathews, with the batsman also recovering from an injury. Like Mathews, he has also been made available for the England series. Kusal Perera is likely to open in Fernando’s absence.
"We will need Oshada for the England series too so it is better to keep him with us so that he can bat and get some practice. The only thing is, he will not be able to do other things on the field till the end of the month. We are coming straight to the England series at home from the South African bubble so it is better for Oshada to be in the side so that the physios can attend to him," Ashantha de Mel, the head of the national selection committee, was quoted as saying by Daily FT.
"Oshada may not play in the first Test match but he will be fit for the second one. The first Test we most likely might open with Kusal Perera. He scored a match-winning 153 on the last tour although he didn't open, but in the current situation we feel he might do well as an opener because he can play the new ball. Otherwise, we will have to see whom we can open with," the Sri Lanka manager added.
The selectors have named five uncapped players in the form of Wanindu Hasaranga, Minod Bhanuka, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka and Santhush Gunathilaka for both the series. While there is some inexperience in the squad, Sri Lanka will go into South Africa with the lovely memories of a 2-0 whitewash from their last series, when they became the first Asian team to do so in South Africa.
Sri Lanka Test squad for series against South Africa and England:
Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Kusal Janith Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Oshada Fernando, Dhananjaya De Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Embuldeniya, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Dushmantha Chameera, Dasun Shanaka, Santhush Gunathilake, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka.