Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has announced a 15-man squad for the opening Test against New Zealand. The match is scheduled to get underway on August 14 at the Galle International Stadium. Presently, a warm-up match between Sri Lanka Board President XI and the Black Caps is taking place at the Air Force Ground in Katunayake following which the international fixtures will start.
Earlier the board named a 22-man preliminary squad for the series. Meanwhile, the likes of Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal have earned Test recalls. Chandimal last played in the format against Australia and then was left out for the series versus South Africa due to poor form. The right-handed batsman couldn’t make the final squad for the 2019 World Cup as well.
Chandimal recently plied his trade for the Montreal Tigers in the Global T20 Canada 2019. As far as Mathews is concerned, his last Test was versus the Kiwis back in December 2018. The veteran is presently in a jaw-dropping form in international cricket. He played a couple of decent knocks of unbeaten 85 and 113 in the World Cup and was recently the Player of the Series against Bangladesh.
In the three-match series, Mathews was the leading run-scorer with 187 runs at an average of 93.50 with a couple of half-centuries. Lanka comfortably won the series 3-0 without dropping much sweat. The 32-year-old will be looking to translate the form in Test cricket as well. Earlier this year, the Lankans showed that they can give the big teams a run for their money.
The Islanders whitewashed South Africa 2-0 in the Test series and took the cricket world by surprise. Hence, the Kiwis can’t afford to be complacent. Niroshan Dickwella, who didn’t play the World Cup will be a part of the squad. Former fast bowler Rumesh Ratnayake will be the coach during the series after he was appointed on an interim basis on Wednesday.
Here is the Sri Lanka squad for the first Test
Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya De Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Oshada Fernando, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando
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