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Dinesh Chandimal

Dinesh Chandimal returns to Sri Lanka squad for first New Zealand Test

Sri Lanka news

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Axed former captain Dinesh Chandimal has been recalled to Sri Lanka’s Test squad for the first game against New Zealand, starting on 14 August.

Chandimal was believed to be in line to make a comeback when he was named in the 22-man preliminary squad for the two-Test home series. That was confirmed when he was among the names in the final squad that was pruned to 15 members and was announced on Friday, 9 August.

Chandimal last played a Test in February this year, when he led the contingent in a two-Test series in Australia that the home team won 2-0. Chandimal, who aggregated 24 runs in four innings in that series, was subsequently dropped for the tour of South Africa, where Sri Lanka famously registered their first series win in the country, after stunning the Faf du Plessis-led hosts 2-0. He was subsequently also overlooked for the World Cup squad.

Akila Dananjaya who had also been in contention for a Test spot, made the cut alongside Chandimal, but there was no place for off-spinning all-rounder Dilruwan Perera. Fast bowler Lahiru Kumara, who was also recalled when the initial list was announced, was retained, while there was no place for all-rounder Danushka Gunathilaka. Angelo Perera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Chamika Karunaratne, Kasun Rajitha and Asitha Fernando were the others left out from the premilinary list.

Also returning to the side after missing out on the World Cup is wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella, who hit form during the A team’s tour of India, where he registered centuries in both the four-day match in Belgaum, as well as the six-match List A series, which he finished as the visitors’ second-highest run-scorer, with 216 runs at 43.20, striking them at 109.64.

Mathews, who had missed out on the South Africa tour due to a hamstring injury, returned on the back of good form through the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 and the home ODI series against Bangladesh that followed.

The team will continue to be led by Dimuth Karunaratne, who took over captaincy on the South Africa tour and then was handed the reins for the World Cup as well, after earning a stunning recall to the one-day side, ending a four-year period outside of it, shortly before the tournament.

The first Test begins on 14 August at Galle, where Sri Lanka hold a proud record. The series will mark the initiation of both teams into the ICC World Test Championship cycle.

Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Janith Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya De Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Oshada Fernando, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando

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