Niroshan Dickwella has been chosen as first choice wicket keeper for the first test against New Zealand, starting from tomorrow at historic Galle Cricket Stadium. Accordingly, former test captain Dinesh Chandimal, who was also in race to keep wickets, will sit out, while new batting sensation Oshada Fernando is also unlikely to find a place in playing XI.
After playing in Bangladesh in February 2018, Chandimal has played only in 5 test matches out of a possible 14 tests due to poor form. In those 5 matches, he scored just 126 runs with an awful average of 14.
Dickwella, meanwhile, was in a good form against India A, after being ignored for World Cup.
Sri Lanka will be wary of providing a rank turning wicket in the first Test in Galle after being outsmarted by England in the most recent encounter at the venue. England overcame the battle with a variety of off-, leg- and left-arm spin as the trio of Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Jack Leach played a key role in a 3-0 series sweep.
When they trounced South Africa five months ago, rookie Oshada Fernando played a key role posting an unbeaten 75 in Port Elizabeth in what was his second Test match. He became an instant hero and his subsequent snubbing from the World Cup squad earned the wrath of former players.
There will be more disappointment as Fernando, one of the brightest prospects to emerge in recent times, is set to miss second test as well with the return of Angelo Mathews, who was injured for South Africa.
Lahiru Kumara, another player who didn’t go to South Africa, will be Sri Lanka’s lead fast bowler and it remains to be seen with whom he will share the new ball.
Both Suranga Lakmal and Vishwa Fernando were main architects during the win in South Africa.
The hosts have dumped head coach Chandika Hathurusingha halfway through his three-year tenure, with former fast bowler Rumesh Ratnayake now filling in on an interim basis.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Todd Astle, William Somerville, Mitchell Santner, Tom Blundell, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, B.J. Watling, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, Neil Wagner