SRI LANKA TOUR OF BANGLADESH 2018
The 30-year-old has captained Tamil Union in domestic cricket and is the designated leader of Sri Lanka’s fast bowling group. © Getty
Sri Lanka have named offspinner Akila Dhananjaya in the 16-member squad for the two-match Test series against Bangladesh that gets underway later this month. The 24-year-old has been a regular in Sri Lanka’s limited-overs sides in the last six months, but he has not featured in a Test match so far.
He is the fourth spinner named in the squad alongside veteran Rangana Herath, fellow offspinner Dilruwan Perera and chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandakan.
Sri Lanka seem to be relying heavily on pace as they recalled Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera, perhaps the two fastest bowlers in the country at the moment. Left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando and all-rounder Dasun Shanaka, who were part of the squad for the three-Test series in India, have been left out.
Also left out were Lahiru Thirimanne, who was vice-captain in India, and young Sadeera Samarawickrama. Thirimanne played the first two Tests in Calcutta and Nagpur in the last tour but managed just one half-century in four innings and was dropped for the final game in Delhi.
Opener Danushka Gunathilaka and top-order batsman Kusal Mendis were named in the squad instead and could be straight swaps for Thirimanne and Samarawickrama in the playing XI.
Sri Lanka played seven batsmen in the drawn Delhi Test and selections for the opening Test match against Bangladesh will be interesting as they have to decide which batsman to leave out. Roshen Silva, who made a match-saving unbeaten 74 in Delhi, is expected to retain his spot.
Sri Lanka have handed the vice-captaincy to fast bowler Suranga Lakmal. The 30-year-old has captained Tamil Union in domestic cricket and is the designated leader of Sri Lanka’s fast bowling group.
There was no place for all-rounder Asela Gunaratne in the squad. The 32-year-old was sidelined for five months after fracturing his thumb while fielding during the Galle Test against India. He made a comeback during the ODI leg of the Indian tour and was named for the tri-nation series in Bangladesh, but was overlooked for the Test series.
Sri Lanka are currently in Bangladesh and will start off the tour with a triangular series which also involves Zimbabwe. The first Test gets underway on the 31st of January in Chittagong.
Sri Lanka Test squad: Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Roshen Silva, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Gamage and Lahiru Kumara