Sri Lanka have made several changes to their Test squad for the forthcoming three-match series against Pakistan in the UAE.
Mahela Jayawardene is back after missing the series against Bangladesh in March due to injury and will help offset the retirement of Tillakaratne Dilshan.
The wicket-keeping department is perhaps the one that has seen the biggest shake-up, with Prasanna Jayawardene back after a gap of a year, and Kaushal Silva back after a gap of two after impressing recently in domestic cricket for Sinhalese Sports Club.
There are two uncapped off-spinners in the 16-man squad, with Sachithra Senanayake included after strong recent performances in ODIs alongside Dilruwan Perera. Ajantha Mendis and Tharindu Kaushal are the men to miss out. Senanayake and Perera will complement the experienced left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who returns for the Test leg of the tour after missing the ODIs.
The pace-attack sees a return for Nuwan Pradeep after he wasn’t considered for selection for the series against Bangladesh due to injury. 22 year-old left-armer Vishwa Fernando is the surprise inclusion ahead of the likes of Chanaka Welegedara. The Bloomfield CC bowler doesn’t have a particularly strong domestic record, but the Sri Lankan selectors have clearly seen something they like.
Other men to miss out from the Bangladesh series are leg-spinning all-rounder Jeevan Mendis and batsman Kithruwan Vithanage.
The first of the three Test matches begins in Abu Dhabi on 31st December, with matches in Dubai and Sharjah following from 8th and 16th January.
Sri Lanka Test squad: Angelo Mathews (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Prasanna Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Pradeep, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Vishwa Fernando.
© Cricket World 2013