Karunaratne to captain 16-member Sri Lanka squad for Pakistan Tests
Sri Lanka have announced a full-strength 16-man squad for the upcoming two-Test series scheduled to be held in Pakistan in December.
Several players who opted out of the six limited-overs fixtures in Lahore and Karachi in September-October have been named in the squad.
Dimuth Karunaratne returns to lead the side while the likes of Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera and Suranga Lakmal will also be part of the line-up.
Dinesh Chandimal has managed to retain his spot in the side despite being unable to get a game during the home series against New Zealand.
Chandimal previously represented Sri Lanka in the longer format when he was still skipper of the team amidst the tour of Australia in February.
He was subsequently removed from the captain's position with his successor Karunaratne guiding Sri Lanka to a historic series win in South Africa during his maiden assignment as the Test skipper.
The tourists' spin stocks have taken a hit with the suspension of Akila Dananjaya due to an illegal bowling action but Dhananjaya de Silva, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya and Lakshan Sandakan provide plenty of slow bowling options.
Kasun Rajitha, part of Sri Lanka's inexperienced T20I squad that completed a series whitewash over Pakistan, has earned a call-up in place of Dananjaya.
The two matches between Sri Lanka and Pakistan will count towards the inaugural World Test Championship with Rawalpindi and Karachi chosen as the two venues to host the historic return of Test cricket to the country.
The Tests were originally slated to take place in October but Sri Lanka decided on playing short-form games instead after a lot of key players expressed their reservations in regards to travelling to the South Asian nation.
Pakistan welcomes the advent of Test cricket on its shores for the first time since the militant attack that targeted the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore a decade ago.
Teams have shied away from touring Pakistan out of security concerns but the country has gradually moved towards the resumption of international cricket in recent years.
Sri Lanka squad
Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Janith Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan