TEAM SL FOR ENG AND SA TESTS
Angelo Mathews is part of the team, but will not tour South Africa as he is recovering from a hamstring injury © Getty
Sri Lanka Cricket, on Thursday (December 17), announced a 22-member team for the next round of tests against South Africa and England. Wanindu Hasaranga, Minod Bhanuka, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka and Santhush Gunathilaka are the five limitless players on the team. Angelo Mathews is part of the squad but will not tour South Africa as he is recovering from a hamstring injury he sustained during the Lankan Premier League.
The 22-member squad chosen for the next two series is the same one that participated in a 10-day training camp in Pallekele prior to the Lanka Premier League. In addition to Mathews’ forced absence due to injury, there are some other concerns for Sri Lanka in terms of fitness. Opening hitter Oshada Fernando is still recovering from an ankle injury and is set to miss the first test against South Africa, with Kusal Perera likely opening.
“We will need Oshada for the English series too, so it’s best to keep him with us so he can beat and do some training. The only thing is that he won’t be able to do other things on the pitch until the end of the month. We are coming straight to the English series at home from the South African bubble, so it is better that Oshada is on the side so that the physiotherapists can deal with it, ”Ashantha de Mel, the head of the national selection committee, was quoted as told by the Daily FT.
“Oshada may not play in the first test game, but he will be fit for the second. The first test we could most likely open with Kusal Perera. He scored a game by winning 153 in the last tour even though he didn’t open, but in the situation current we feel he could do well as an opener because he can play the new ball. Otherwise, we will have to see who we can open with, “added the Sri Lankan coach.
Niroshan Dickwella and Dhananjaya de Silva also have some injury problems, but according to de Mel, they should be fit before the series starts.
The players and staff will leave for South Africa on 18 December. They are planning a three-day free practice match in Benoni from December 20 before the opening test which begins on Santo Stefano in Centurion.
The South Africa tour is Sri Lanka’s first test assignment in 11 months. They last played against Zimbabwe in January 2020, while their scheduled home streak against England in March 2020 was postponed due to the COVID outbreak. The same series will now take place from January 14, 2021, a week after the end of the Sri Lanka tour of South Africa.
Last time Sri Lanka toured South Africa, they secured a historic 2-0 win in February 2019, becoming the first Asian team to win a test streak 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 Embankenya, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dilwairuwanalera Fernando , Dushmantha Chameera, Dasun Shanaka, Santhush Gunathilake, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka.