Andrew Fidel Fernando, courtesy of ESPNcricinfo
Left-arm spinning allrounder Milinda Siriwardana will lead the Sri Lankan XI in the three-day practice match against Australia, which begins on Monday in Colombo. Also in the XI are seam-bowling allrounder Dasun Shanaka, who made his Test debut on the recent tour of England, spin-bowling allrounders Shehan Jayasuriya and Chaturanga de Silva, and pacers Dilhara Fernando, Vimukthi Perera and Nisala Tharaka.
Siriwardana had made a reasonable start to his international career, even winning the Man-of-the-match award in one of his five Tests so far, but has not had a constant place in the Sri Lanka XI since Sanath Jayasuriya’s selection committee took charge. A good performance against the tourists will make him difficult to overlook for the Test squad, however. Shanaka is viewed as more of a limited-overs option, but could also force his way into the squad for the first Test.
Dilhara Fernando’s selection is a reflection of the state of Sri Lanka’s fast-bowling resources at present. Dushmantha Chameera and Dhammika Prasad have been virtually ruled out of the Tests, with Shaminda Eranga suspended from bowling in international cricket due to an illegal action. Suranga Lakmal, will undergo a fitness Test on Monday to assess his availability, leaving Nuwan Pradeep as the only fully fit and available option from among the recent Test quicks.
Sri Lanka’s selectors have suggested A team seamers Vishwa Fernando and Asitha Fernando could also be drafted into the squad, though both are currently touring England. Perera and Tharaka, who are playing in this three-day encounter, may also be considered.
The warm-up match – Australia’s only official practice fixture ahead of the Tests – will be played at the P Sara Oval.
Sri Lankan XI: Madawa Warnapura, Osanda Fernando, Manoj Sarathchandra (wk), Asela Gunarathna, Shehan Jayasuriya, Milinda Siriwardana (capt), Dasun Shanaka, Chathuranga Silva, Nisala Tharaka, Vimukthi Perera, Dilhara Fernando
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando