NELSON: Selectors have included aggressive left-handed batsman Kusal Perera in the 16-man squad for the Test series in Australia. Perera was not in the squad for the Test series in New Zealand recently, with his most recent Test appearance coming in June last year during the series in the Caribbean.
Danushka Gunathilaka, the opener, who scored just 16 runs in the Test series in New Zealand, has been dropped. While Perera has struggled to find his feet in Test cricket, he did blaze his way to a century against New Zealand in the recently-concluded ODI series which might have prompted the selectors to give him a go in conditions that are expected to be batting friendly.
Apart from that one change, the selectors have retained the same set of players who were picked for the series in New Zealand. Angelo Mathews, who was expected to at least miss the opening Test in Australia following another injury to his hamstring, has been ignored. The five-man pace attack includes Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera and Kasun Rajitha whereas Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan Sandakan will remain the side’s first-choice spinners.
SQUAD: Dinesh Chandimal(C), Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera , Lahiru Thirimanne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, , Nuwan Pradeep, Dimuth Karunaratne