Sri Lanka has named an enlarged 22-man squad for its test streak in South Africa and at home in England, although it will be without experienced Angelo Mathews for the first of those through injury. Dimuth Karunaratne will be the team’s skipper and is hoping for a repeat of the upset two-test victory in South Africa last year when they became the only Asian team to win a series there.
Kusal Perera’s undefeated 153 in pursuit in the first of those games was one of the great innings in Test cricket and the southpaw was selected again. The loss of Mathews, 33, to a hamstring injury sustained in the national competition of the Lanka Premier League Twenty20 is a major blow to the hitter, although he hopes to be able to face England.
Mathews recently told Reuters that his days as a handyman in Test cricket were over after persistent hamstring and calf problems. Sri Lanka will arrive in South Africa on Saturday, with the first test in Pretoria starting on Boxing Day. The second will be in Johannesburg from 3 January. Sri Lanka’s two home test series with England will start in Galle on 14 January.
Team: Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews *, Oshada Fernando, Dhananjaya De Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Embuldeniya, Wanindu Hasaranga Pernish, Surru Kasun Rajitha, Dushmantha Chameera, Dasun Shanaka, Santhush Gunathilake, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka.
* Only available for England series