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Chandimal named in preliminary squad for New Zealand Tests

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Axed former captain Dinesh Chandimal has returned to Sri Lanka's Test squad, after being named in their preliminary 22-man squad for the two-Test home series against New Zealand that begins on 14 August.

Chandimal was dropped for Sri Lanka's historic tour of South Africa, where they registered their first-ever Test series win, in February this year. In Chandimal's absence, Sri Lanka famously swept, and shocked, the home team 2-0. The wicket-keeper batsman now returns on the back of 223 runs at 55.75 in five innings at the Premier Limited Over Tournament, Sri Lanka's top domestic one-day competition. 

However, Dimuth Karunaratne, the man who led them during the South Africa series, as well as during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, will hold on to the captaincy and usher the team into the World Test Championship era.

Chandimal apart, spinners Akila Dananjaya and Dilruwan Perera were also recalled, alongside fast bowler Lahiru Kumara and all-rounder Danushka Gunathilaka. Niroshan Dickwella, who was left out for both the World Cup and the ODI series against Bangladesh, was also named in the 22-man squad that will later be pruned to 15. Batting all-rounder Shehan Jayasuriya, who is uncapped at the Test level, was also brought in.

From the party that toured South Africa before the World Cup, Milinda Siriwardana and Kaushal Silva missed out. Mohamed Shiraz, who took 23 wickets in seven first-class games in Tier A of the Premier League Tournament and also travelled to South Africa, was left out too.

Angelo Mathews, whose hamstring injury had kept him out of the South Africa Tests, returned, while Dananjaya comes back with a remodelled action, following his suspension by the ICC for an illegal action late last year. He took part in the limited-overs leg of the South Africa tour, but was not picked for the World Cup.

Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya De Silva, Angelo Perera, Oshada Fernando, Danushka Gunathilaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Chamika Karunaratne, Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Asitha Fernando

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