Sri Lanka Cricket announced a 22-man squad for the upcoming Test series against South Africa and England on Thursday. Wanindu Hasaranga, Minod Bhanuka, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka and Santhush Gunathilaka are the uncapped players in the team. Angelo Mathews, who picked up a hamstring injury in the Lanka Premier League has been ruled out of the South African tour but is part of the squad that faces England at home.
The 22-man squad is the same group of players who had a 10-day practice camp in Pallekele before the Lanka Premier League. Apart from Mathews, there are a few other injury concerns in the Sri Lankan squad. Oshado Fernando is still recovering from an ankle injury and is ruled out of the first Test against South Africa which commences from December 26.
“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 entire Sri Lankan squad along with the staff will leave for South Africa on December 18. They have a three-day practice match scheduled before the opening Test Match which begins on Boxing Day at Centurion.
This is Sri Lanka’s first bilateral series after the Covid-19 pandemic. Their last series was against Zimbabwe in January 2020, whereas the scheduled home series against England was postponed from March this year owing to the pandemic. The series will now be played from January 14, a week after the Sri Lankan tour of Proteas comes to an end.
Last time, Sri Lanka toured the rainbow nation, they secured a historic 2-0 test series victory over the Proteas in 2019, becoming the first Asian team to win a test series 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.