Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Saturday named paceman Suranga Lakmal as the Test vice-captain, while announcing the squad for the brief two-Test tour to Bangladesh, starting January 31. After ending 2017 on a below-par note, which saw the Islanders being outplayed by India both at home and away, the Islanders under new coach Chandika Hathurusingha, have already made a few changes, including re-appointing Dinesh Chandimal as the leader of the Test team.
The Test squad also sees the return of batsmen Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka while there is an added emphasis on pace, with Dushmantha Chameera and 20-year-old Lahiru Kumara being picked.
But it is the first-time selection of unorthodox offspinner Akila Dananjaya that is the strongest indication that the selectors and new coach are looking at taking Sri Lanka's attack in a new direction.
Lakmal has been rewarded for a good 2017 with the team's vice-captaincy while Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera head up the spin department, with left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan also included.
Right-arm seam bowler Lahiru Gamage has been picked as well.
There are notable omissions as well with pacemen Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando and all-rounder Dasun Shanaka, being left out.
Among the batsmen to be dropped are Lahiru Thirimanne and Sadeera Samarawickrama along with all-rounder Asela Gunaratne, and Kusal Perera -- both of whom are, however, in the ODI squad.
Sri Lanka Test squad: Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Roshen Silva, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal (Vice Captain), Dilruwan Perera, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Gamage, Lahiru Kumara.
(With IANS Inputs)