Samaraweera dropped for Pakistan Tests

Middle-order batsman Thilan Samaraweera, 34, and spinner Ajantha Mendis are the major omissions from the squad that lost 1-0 to Australia at home, while legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna was also left out.

“Thilan will not come into the reckoning in our long term plans,” Duleep Mendis, the chairman of selectors, said. “We intend giving youngsters an opportunity while the seniors are around. He might be considered on a short-term basis.”

Apart from Chandimal, who was part of the Test squad in England this summer but did not debut, fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep and another wicketkeeper-batsman Kaushal Silva were the two other uncapped players called into the side. Chandimal has played 12 ODIs and seven Twenty20s, though, and is presently representing Ruhuna in the Champions League Twenty20 in India. Neither Pradeep nor Silva has any international caps.

Samaraweera scored only 86 runs at an average of 21.50 in the first two home Tests against Australia and was dropped for the third match at the SSC. Sri Lanka adjusted to his absence by batting the captain Tillakaratne Dilshan in the middle order while Lahiru Thirimanne opened with Tharanga Paranavitana. Dilshan is likely to continue batting in the middle order.

Mendis did not play any of the Tests against Australia because of a back injury he sustained during the preceding ODI series and he remained unavailable for selection. Prasanna made his debut in the second Test in Pallekele and took 0 for 80 in the match.

The squad contained five fast bowlers in Chanaka Welegedara, Suranga Lakmal, Dammika Prasad, Shaminda Eranga and Pradeep and only two specialist spinners – Rangana Herath and Suraj Randiv. Angelo Mathews was selected as a batsman because he was not yet fit to bowl.

“Angelo has gone to Australia for treatment for his left knee and we will not risk bowling him in the series,” Mendis said.

Sri Lanka play three Tests against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah starting on October 18.

Squad: Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), Angelo Mathews (vc), Tharanga Paranavitana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Rangana Herath, Suraj Randiv, Chanaka Welegedara, Suranga Lakmal, Shaminda Eranga, Dammika Prasad, Nuwan Pradeep, Kaushal Silva (wk).

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