Sri Lanka vs Pakistan: De Silva returns, Oshada to open for Lanka in first Test

Sri Lanka captain D. Karunaratne said his side will have the services of all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva in the first Test against against Pakistan.

Sri Lanka’s captain Dimuth Karunaratne (R) and Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam pose with the Test trophy on the eve of their first Test match at the Galle International Cricket Stadium.

Sri Lanka’s captain Dimuth Karunaratne (R) and Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam pose with the Test trophy on the eve of their first Test match at the Galle International Cricket Stadium. | Photo Credit: AFP

Sri Lanka captain D. Karunaratne said his side will have the services of all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva in the first Test against against Pakistan.

Sri Lanka's Dhananjaya de Silva will return to the XI after recovering from Covid-19, skipper Dimuth Karunaratne said Friday, ahead of the first Test against Pakistan.

The two-match series starts on Saturday in Galle, where the hosts played a Test series against Australia recently.

The Lankan team will be bolstered by the return of de Silva, a batting all-rounder, who was one of four players to contract the virus and be ruled out of the second Test against Australia.

De Silva will replace Kamindu Mendis, who made an impressive 61 on debut in the previous match.

"Oshada Fernando will open the innings with me. Dhananjaya De Silva takes his place back and we'll have to look again who (Dhananjaya or Chandimal) is batting at five and six," Karunaratne said.

Chandimal hit an unbeaten 206 before left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya returned a match haul of 12 wickets on debut as the hosts beat Australia by an innings and 39 runs to end the series level at 1-1.

Pakistan, led by Babar Azam, boasts a dangerous bowling attack led by Shaheen Shah Afridi, and has brought back veteran spinner, Yasir Shah, on tracks that are expected to spin.

"It is a typical spinning wicket and that's what we saw in the series against Australia," said Azam.

“Any team would be difficult at home as they know the conditions,” he added. Pakistan had edged out Sri Lanka in Tests in the team’s last tour to the island nation in 2015.

Azam also praised the 36-year-old Yasir on his comeback. The leg spinner had claimed 24 wickets in the Pakistan’s previous Test series in Sri Lanka seven years ago.

Crucial World Test Championship points will be on offer in the series, with Sri Lanka moving to third place after the win against Australia, while Pakistan sits fourth in the current table.

"It's good to see that we're higher up after playing a good series," said Karunaratne. "If we can win both Test matches, we have a good chance of playing in the World Test Championship final. But I am trying to play one by one," he added.

Sri Lanka’s 12-man squad for the first Test against Pakistan
Oshada Fernando, Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Ramesh Mendis, Maheesh Theekshana, Prabath Jayasuriya, Kasun Rajitha, Asitha Fernando
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