Sri Lanka drop Samarawickrama


by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka have dropped promising top order batsman Sadeera Samarawickrama for the two match Test series against Bangladesh.

Samarawickrama, who made his Test debut against Pakistan during the tour of UAE, played all three Tests against India and finished with 74 runs in six innings.

The 22-year-old is one of the brightest prospects around having finishing the last domestic season as the highest run getter.

His close-in fielding earned the praise of former Indian cricketers as he fearlessly stood at short leg after begin repeatedly hit by Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli.

Top order batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, who was vice-captain during the Indian series, has also been axed as Sri Lanka recalled Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka.

Roshen Silva, who made a crucial unbeaten 74 in the drawn Delhi Test has been retained. Selections for the opening Test in Chittagong will become interesting as Sri Lanka played seven batsmen during their last Test in Delhi.

The tourists also have the option of opening with Dhananjaya de Silva, who scored a match saving hundred in the third Test against India batting at number six.

Vishwa Fernando, who toured India has also been dropped along with all-rounder Dasun Shanaka, who played two Tests in India as Sri Lanka opted for perhaps the two fastest bowlers in the country at the moment – Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera.

Akila Dhananjaya, who has been a regular in ODI cricket was also named in the Test squad. He is one of the four spinners in the 16 member squad along side veteran Rangana Herath, off-spinner Dilruwan Perera and chinaman bowler Laksham Sandakan.

Opposition batsmen have failed to pick Akila Dananjaya’s variations in shorter formats of the game and the selectors believe that he could be effective in Test cricket as well. He is also considered the long term replacement for seniors like Herath and Dilruwan Perera.

Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal has been named as vice-captain to Dinesh Chandimal. The 30-year-old has earned the respect of his peers and team management as a genuine team man.

The first Test is scheduled for the 31st of January. Prior to the two match Test series, Sri Lanka will be involved in a tri-nation competition also involving Zimbabwe.

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 Dhananjaya, Lahiru Gamage and Lahiru Kumara.

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