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Suranga Lakmal named in Sri Lanka squad for Test series against Zimbabwe; Kusal Perera dropped

The first Test between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe will kickstart from January 19th.

Suranga Lakmal of Sri Lanka
Suranga Lakmal of Sri Lanka. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka has made just one change to their squad for the Test series against Zimbabwe, which recently lost the Test series in Pakistan 0-1. Fast bowling spearhead Suranga Lakmal, who had missed out on the tour to Pakistan due to injury has made a comeback to the Test set-up for the Test tour of Zimbabwe while Kusal Perera has been dropped because of lack of scores in the past two series.

Kusal Perera had played one of the best ever 4th innings one will ever see when he scripted a whirlwind one-wicket win for Sri Lanka against South Africa; one that paved way for the island nation to script a memorable Test series win in the rainbow nation. But since then, the left-hander’s scores have dried up substantially.

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However, his last four scores in Test cricket read: 1, 23, 0 and 0. Chief selector Asantha de Mel confirmed that the decision to drop Perera was taken after having a discussion with Head coach Mickey Arthur.

“Most probably we will go with the same batting lineup [as we did in Karachi], with Angelo Mathews at four, Dinesh Chandimal at five, Dhananjaya de Silva at six and Niroshan Dickwella keeping. Kusal has an issue with his hamstrings where he can’t run around the field as much. And because Dickwella is the main keeper, we thought there was no point taking another keeper,” Asantha de Mel said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.

Lahiru Thiramanne and Dilruwan Perera retain their spots for the Zimbabwe Test series

The chief selector also defended the decision to retain Lahiru Thiramanne, whose batting average form 68 innings read: 22.64 when he said, “Yes, Kusal can make 150s, but we needed someone who can occupy the crease, which is why we chose Thirimanne,” de Mel said. “Thirimanne can also bat in the top order or as an opener.” Thirimanne’s batting average, however, is 22.64 after 68 innings.

“We have the England series at home coming up, and this Zimbabwe series is the test to see if he can still do the job. If we dropped him now, we can’t even look at him for the England series, so we’ll see how he does in this series. In terms of offspinners, there’s also no standout options aside from him.”

Dilruwan Perera, who failed to take a wicket in Pakistan also retained his place in the squad while rookie fast bowler Asitha Fernando, who was called in as a last-minute replacement for Lakmal has also been dropped. The first Test between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe will kickstart from January 19th while the second one will take place from January 27th.

Sri Lanka Test squad for the two Tests against Zimbabwe:

Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya De Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal

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