Sri Lanka selectors have named Dimuth Karunaratne as stand-in captain for the South Africa test series. Karunaratne will replace Dinesh Chandimal, who led Sri Lanka in the recently concluded Australia series, in which team suffered humiliating defeats in both the tests.
Chandimal could manage only 68 runs in four innings against New Zealand with a paltry average of 22.66. Against Australia, he struggled even more, with just 24 runs in four innings with a dismal average of 6. Chandimal’s recent international scores reads 4, 15, 0, 5, 3, 10, 56, 6, 6, 1, 33 and 26 with no fifty plus score.
That has prompted selectors to take some harsh decision about Chandimal, even though he is the captain of the test side. In his absence, Dimuth Karunaratne, the most successful Sri Lanka player in test cricket in last two years, Will shoulder the responsibility to lead the side.
As Cricket Age had published on february 3rd itself, Sri Lanka have also recalled veteran batsmen Kaushal Silva and Milinda Siriwardena for the two test match series against South Africa while Angelo Mathews has been ruled out as he is yet to recover from his hamstring injury. Oshada Fernando, the domestic run machine who has scattered all domestic records this season, in form Angelo Perera, Fast bowler Mohamed Shiraz and spinner Lasith Embuldeniya have been awarded with maiden national call up, while Roshane Silva and Sadeera Samarwikrama have been dropped for the tour.
Sri Lanka to play first test at Kingsmead Durban from 13 February, while second test will take place at St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth from February 21.
Mathews tweaked his hamstring during Sri Lanka’s tour of New Zealand. He was Sri Lanka’s highest run-scorer during the series and was dismissed once while scoring 258 runs.
Oshada Fernando, of Chilaw Marians Cricket Club, has set domestic cricket on fire with his record shattering batting throughout the season. With a highest score of 234, he has accumulated 1228 first-class runs this season. His scores of 52, 109, 234, 65, 1.5, 50, 23, 36, 140, 147, 26, 67, 100, 16, 1 this season have virtually forced national selectors to include him for the South Africa series.
Like Oshada, Kaushal Silva has also regained his place through consistent performances in domestic cricket for Sinhalese Sports Club. He has played 39 tests for Sri Lanka so far, mostly at an opener, but failed to cement his place. However, for SSC he accumulated 924 runs, second only to Oshada in highest run fetters tally.
Milinda Siriwardena, meanwhile, has excelled in the ongoing premier league as well as against Ireland in the five match ODI series as well, with some scintillating hundreds. Considered most a shorter formats player, he has so far played five tests for Sri Lanka.
Angelo Perera, who has played handful of ODIs for Sri Lanka in past, has just created a history by scoring two double centuries in a single first class game for Nondescript Cricket Club. A stylish right-hander, he posses immense talent and has leadership skills as well, as he leads his club in domestic cricket.
Roshane Silva paid the price for his ordinary outing in the first test against Australia at Brisbane, where he could make only 9 and 3 in two innings. He was replaced by Kusal Perera in the second test and now has been dropped from South Africa squad.
Sadeera Samarwikrama has been released from the squad that is currently in Australia, without being given a chance.
Dimuth Karunaratne (stand-in-captain)
Niroshan Dickwella (Vice Captain)
Dhananjaya De Silva