Dinesh Chandimal will not lead the tourists in the upcoming South Africa v Sri Lanka Test series after being axed from the touring squad.
Sri Lanka have struggled on the road in New Zealand and Australia, before that they were whitewashed at home by England making their mid-2018 triumph over the Proteas a distant memory. Chandimal gets the axe after a run of poor form with the bat coupled with a string of poor team results.
The skipper managed just 24 in four innings in Australia and has been released to play domestic cricket in Sri Lanka. The approach seems a little harsh and shortsighted given Chandimal averages 40.93 in the 17 Tests as captain and has never been given a sustained run as leader.
Offspinner Dilruwan Perera and middle-order batsman Roshen Silva have also been cut from a group that will continue to be without Akila Dananjaya who has had to submit to remedial work to modify his bowling action before he will be allowed to bowl in international cricket.
There are four uncapped players in the squad of 17 in the shape of left arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya, seam bowler Mohamed Shiraz, and batsmen Angelo Perera and Oshada Fernando.
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne will step to lead the team with wicketkeeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella appointed as his deputy.
Suranga Lakmal proved dangerous last time out in South Africa and Sri Lanka will look to him to lead their pace bowling outfit and keep the pressure on South Africa’s batsmen up. Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera and Nuwan Pradeep have all been ruled out of the tour to SA.
Allrounder Milinda Siriwardana and opener Kaushal Silva earn recalls to the squad. The Sri Lanka A series against their Irish counterparts has helped catapult Siriwardana back into contention while excellent domestic form led to maiden call-ups for batsmen Angelo Perera and Oshada Fernando and the recall of Kaushal.
South Africa v Sri Lanka Test series squad
Sri Lanka squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Niroshan Dickwella, (v-capt), 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
South Africa v Sri Lanka Test fixtures
First Test: 13-17 February at Kingsmead in Durban
Second Test: 21 -25 February at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth