Sri Lanka have announced an 18-member squad for the upcoming two-match Test series at home against Pakistan.
From the squad that was named to take on Australia, Sri Lanka have left out Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lakshitha Manasinghe and Chamika Karunaratne.
All-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva, pacer Asitha Fernando and spinner Jeffrey Vandersay are all named in the squad and are in contention to return to Sri Lanka’s XI after the trio missed the second Test against Australia due to Covid.
Key batter Pathum Nissanka – who tested positive to Covid midway through that match – is also a chance to return, while left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya is likely to get the chance to lead Sri Lanka’s spin attack after his match-winning efforts against Australia.
Jayasuriya claimed 12 wickets for the match against Pat Cummins’ side, which is the best haul for Sri Lanka on Test debut and the fourth-best for a debutant overall.
The 30-year-old is likely to have Maheesh Theekshana and Ramesh Mendis share the spinning duties with him against Pakistan, but young left-armer Praveen Jayawickrama remains on the outer after missing out on selection in the squad.
Experienced left-hander Dimuth Karunaratne will once again captain a Sri Lankan side that is looking to continue their recent rise up the World Test Championsjop standings, with Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews and the in-form Dinesh Chandimal to provide the bulk of the batting support.
Sri Lanka moved up to third on the World Test Championship standings on the back of their emphatic innings and 39-run victory over Australia in Galle and will be looking to replicate that performance when they battle Babar Azam’s side.
Pakistan are one spot behind Sri Lanka in fourth place on the World Championsjop standings and are still well in contention of reaching next year’s final.
The series begins with the first Test in Galle on Saturday, with the two teams then moving to Colombo for the second Test at the end of the month.
The series begins with the first Test in Galle on Saturday, 16 July, with the teams moving to Colombo for the second Test, beginning on 24 July.