Sri Lanka announce 18-member Test squad for Pakistan series
Hosts Sri Lanka have announced an 18-member squad for the two-match Test series against Pakistan, starting July 16. Pacer Asitha Fernando, all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva, and spinner Jeffrey Vandersay return to the mix after missing the second Test against Australia due to COVID-19. Slow left-arm orthodox Prabath Jayasuriya has been called back post twin six-wicket hauls in the concluded Test in Galle. Here's more.
Jayasuriya was the pick of the Lankan bowlers in the decisive Test versus Australia. The debutant garnered mouth-dropping figures of 12/177. Middle-order batter Dinesh Chandimal was a class act. He smashed a marathon 206*, becoming the first Lankan batter to record a double ton against Australia in Tests. He was eventually adjudged as the Player of the Series, having amassed 219 runs at 109.50.
SL have able candidates in the spin department to outfox the rivals. Jayasuriya will be spearheading their attack. The likes of Maheesh Theekshana and Ramesh Mendis have retained their place as well. The duo pocketed three wickets apiece in the last Test, including two wickets each in the second innings to wind up the Aussie line-up. Meanwhile, Praveen Jayawickrama and Lasith Embuldeniya miss out.
Ace leg-spinner Yasir Shah has been called up for the much-coveted series. Meanwhile uncapped all-rounder Salman Ali Agha eyes his Test debut. Pakistan's Test squad: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.
Post the home Tests against Australia, SL have gained three places to be ranked third in the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 Standings. They have bettered their points percentage from 47.62 to 54.17. They will host Pakistan (two Tests) and later tour NZ (two Tests). Meanwhile, Pakistan (52.38) are seated fourth, having snared three wins, two losses, and two draws so far.
Sri Lanka's Test squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Pathum Nissanka, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Ramesh Mendis, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, Prabath Jayasuriya, Dunith Wellalage, Jeffrey Vandersay.