Sri Lanka name full-strength Test squad for Pakistan tour
Sri Lanka are all set to tour Pakistan as the country would be hosting a Test series for the first time in 11 years. While Lanka toured the country earlier this year for limited-overs campaign, it did have notable absentees from the squad, owing to security concerns. Nonetheless, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has named a full-strength squad for the Tests. Here is more.
The side would be led by veteran batsman Dimuth Karunaratne, alongside the presence of other senior pros like Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal. Meanwhile, spinner Akila Dananjaya is the only notable absentee in the squad, owing to his one-match suspension for illegal bowling action, as pacer Kasun Rajitha replaces him.
As per a statement by SLC, the team would leave for Pakistan on December 8, while the opening Test would be held from December 11 in Rawalpindi, followed by the second Test in Karachi from December 19.
International cricket in Pakistan has been hit badly since 2009, following the horrific terror attack on the touring Lankan team. The attack saw seven Lankan players getting injured, along with assistant coach Paul Farbrace and umpire Ahsan Raza. The tour was immediately abandoned, while the tournaments involving international cricketers came to a standstill in Pakistan.
Considering Lanka's performance in Pakistan during the limited-overs campaign, they were shaky in the ODIs, having lost the three-match series, 0-2, in Karachi. However, they bounced back commendably well in the T20Is and tamed the hosts 3-0 in Lahore. Notably, it is this winning performance without the senior players that has promoted the senior side to tour Pakistan for the Tests.
Considering Lanka's performance in the Tests this year, they have displayed a fighting attitude. In four series this year, Lanka have lost just one, won one and drew two. Notably, their win came in South Africa, as they became the first Asian team to do so. As for their last series, it was against New Zealand at home, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Lanka Test squad vs Pakistan: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Janith Perera(wk), Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya De Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan.