The Sri Lanka Test team skippered by Dimuth Karunaratne, will take wing for South Africa today, Friday December 18. The 32-year old left hander leads a 22-member squad, conspicuous of which is the absence of veteran campaigner Angelo Mathews who is not making the tour due to injury following his participation in the just concluded Lanka Premier League.
Sri Lanka will play two tests, the first commencing on January 26 Boxing Day at Centurion Park, Centurion, and the second test on January 3 at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. The Test series will form part of the inaugural ICC 2019-2021 World Test Championship.
The Sri Lankans are confronted by injury problems with opening batsman Oshada Fernando recovering from an ankle injury during the LPL while star batsman Kusal Janith Perera is nursing a knee injury, also sustained during the Kandy Tuskers match against the Galle Gladiators. He is expected to undergo an MRI scan, but expected to be fit for the first test. While Oshada Fernando might be a nonstarter for the first test, Kusal Janith Perera is looked to as the likely opening replacement with chief selector, Ashantha De Mel hinting that his ability to play the new ball well was an influencing factor for the aggressive left hander pairing with skipper Karunaratne. Perera figured prominently during Sri Lanka’s last tour of Soth Africa hammering a match winning unbeaten 153 versus the Proteas in the final Test.
Other injury concerns have been Dhananjaya de Silva with a small side strain and wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella, a slight groin strain, but both are expected to be okay for the first test.
Sri Lanka engage in a test series after 11 months following the tour of Zimbabwe in January, 2020 at Harare. Ten officials swill accompany the squad with South African born Mick Arthur as the Head Coach.
There are five uncapped player in Wanindu Hasaranga, Minod Bhanuka, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka and Sathush Gunathilaka.
SRI LANKA TEST SQUAD FOR SOUTH AFRICA TOUR (Subject to Sports Ministry ratification): Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Santhush Gunathilaka, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dilshan Madushanka, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Embuldeniya, Dilruwan Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka, Minod Bhanuka