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Dinesh Chandimal

Chandimal left out of Sri Lanka's Test series in South Africa

Sri Lanka news

Dimuth Karunaratne will lead Sri Lanka in their Test series against South Africa after regular captain Dinesh Chandimal was left out of the squad.

Chandimal will instead play domestic cricket in an attempt to regain form. He has made just one half-century on Sri Lanka's tours of Australia and New Zealand.

Karunaratne has been one of Sri Lanka's stand-out Test batsmen in recent times, having been named in the ICC Test Team of the Year 2018 and having made five half-centuries in his last six Tests. He has never captained his country before, with fast bowler Suranga Lakmal having led the side in Chandimal's absence in recent times.

Karunaratne's recent form has been impressive
Karunaratne's recent form has been impressive

Elsewhere, there have been several other changes to the squad which toured Australia. Wicketkeeper-batsman Sadeera Samarawickrama, batsman Roshen Silva, who made 61 runs in four innings in New Zealand and Australia, and off-spinning all-rounder Dilruwan Perera, who scored 61 runs at 8.71 and took six wickets at 94.33, have all been left out, while seamers Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera remain injured.

In their places, Sri Lanka have recalled top-order bat Kaushal Silva and left-arm-spinning all-rounder Milinda Siriwardana, while uncapped players Oshada Fernando, Angelo Perera, Mohamed Shiraz, and Lasith Embuldeniya have also all been called up. Quicks Vishwa Fernando and Chamika Karunaratne, who were called up as replacements on the Australia tour, have retained their places.

Chandimal has struggled in recent times
Chandimal has struggled in recent times

Kaushal has three Test centuries and an average just under 30 from his 39 Tests so far, and recently hit 273 in Sri Lankan first-class cricket for Sinhalese Sports Club against Sri Lanka Army. Siriwardana has a Test batting average of 33 and a bowling average of 23 from his five Tests, and has been in sparkling recent form with the bat, scoring three centuries in three innings for Saracens and Sri Lanka A across the turn of the year.

Angelo Perera, who played six limited-overs internationals for Sri Lanka between 2013 and 2016, made history just days ago, becoming only the second player to hit two double-centuries in the same first-class game, while Oshada has been in similarly scintillating form, totting up six centuries in his last 14 first-class innings, culminating with knocks of 109 and 234 in the same game for Chilaw against Colts.

Kaushal Silva has been recalled
Kaushal Silva has been recalled

Slow left-armer Embuldeniya and right-arm seamer Shiraz are more inexperienced, but have enjoyed excellent starts to their careers. Embuldeniya has 125 wickets at 20.13 in his first 21 first-class games, while Shiraz recently claimed six wickets in a game against Ireland A.

The series begins on Wednesday, 13 February.

Squad: 

Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Niroshan Dickwella, (vc) Lahiru Thirimanne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Dhananjaya De Silva, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Chamika Karunaratne, Mohamed Shiraz, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Embuldeniya

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