Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nov 22: Spinner Ajantha Mendis was recalled and veteran batsman Thilan Samaraweera ignored for a second straight series by Sri Lanka in a 16-member squad for a three-test series against South Africa starting next month.
In an apparent move to build a team for the future, the selectors have picked two uncapped players and four others who have just nine tests between them.
Mendis, not part of the ongoing series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, missed the home test series against Australia in September because of a back injury.
The omission of Samaraweera, who averages a healthy 52, makes his future with the national team uncertain.
One of the uncapped players was 23-year-old batsman Dimuth Karunaratne, who has represented Sri Lanka in two one-day internationals and has an impressive first-class record of 2,395 runs in 38 matches at an average of 43. The other was Dinesh Chandimal, who has played in 16 one-dayers.
The first test starts at Centurion on Dec. 15. The series is followed by five one-dayers.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (captain), Angelo Mathews, Tharanga Paranavitana, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Kaushal Silva, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Chanaka Welegedara, Dilhara Fernando, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath.