Kusal Mendis continues to be omitted; injured Kusal Perera also out of the two-match series
Uncapped left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama and left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka have been named in Sri Lanka’s squad to play Bangladesh in the two-Test series that starts on Wednesday.
Kusal Mendis was omitted again, while Kusal Perera was out through injury. The batting group, otherwise, largely comprised the players that toured the West Indies last month. Angelo Mathews returned to the squad after having left the West Indies tour for personal reasons. Offspin-bowling allrounder Ramesh Mendis was picked again.
In what may be an indication of the pitches that could be expected in Pallekele, no fewer than five quicks were selected. Not among them was Dushmantha Chameera, who is on personal leave with his wife expecting a child. Returning to the squad, though, was Lahiru Kumara, who had missed the West Indies tour after testing positive for Covid-19. Kasun Rajitha continued to be unavailable through injury.
Surprisingly for a home series, only one specialist spinner was named. Legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga was in the squad, but left-arm wristspinner Lakshan Sandakan was not. Ramesh Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva – who are both primarily batters – are on hand to provide support with their offspin.
Twenty-two-year-old Jayawickrama’s selection was due to the absence of Lasith Embuldeniya, who picked up a serious soft-tissue injury while fielding in the second West Indies Test. The selectors are understood to have considered two other left-arm spinners to replace him, but both were ruled out; Duvindu Tillakaratne was injured, while Prabath Jayasuriya failed to pass a fitness test.
Madushanka, 20, meanwhile, was selected largely based on potential. He had played for Sri Lanka at Under-19 level, but has only three first-class matches on his record.
Both Tests will be played in Pallekele. When Bangladesh last visited for an assignment in the longest format, they drew the series 1-1, recording their first win on Sri Lankan soil in Colombo.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf