Batsmen Roshen Silva and Sadeera Samarawickrema are strongly touted to play in the First Test against Pakistan starting on Thursday in Abu Dhabi as Sri Lanka quests to break its hoodoo of losses recently. Head Coach Pothas, who has reportedly stated that it is time to shed the transition tag, has singled out the left handed Roshen Silva with a sound domestic record as the most consistent batsman in the last six years as almost certain to fill in the vacant No.5 berth for the injury sidelined Angelo Mathews.
The 28-old year old Colts CC product has averaged a pleasing 55.81 in this year’s Premier League Tournament on 614 runs and has been tapping on the door for big stage recognition for sometime. He could well be the cog in the wheel to Sri Lanka’s middle order stability that has been a nagging problem; most recently against India.
Meanwhile, the 22-year old former Josephian, Samarawickrema too has been one of the most consistent youngsters to stake a claim for top flight recognition. He has particularly impressed as an opening batsman with some noteworthy knocks in trial matches against visiting international teams including a century off the British Lions. He was also the Man of the Match in the U23 Sri Lanka Emerging team beating Pakistan in the‘final for the Emerging Trophy. Pothas has spoken glowingly of Samarawickrema as a game trier and hinted that the Colts CC player could well get the nod ahead of Kaushal Silva for the opener’s berth. It would be a stiff decision.
The Head Coach has singled out Samarawickrema as a top-order batsman on the selectors recommendations to cover the top three.
Sri Lanka has worked hard on its preparatory ground work having opted for more new blood in its renaissance bid to recapture past glory at that level.
For the record, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have played 15 Test series to date since 1981-82 with Sri Lanka winning three series’ to Pakistan’s 12. Sri Lanka won 2-1 in 1995 in Pakistan, 1-0 in 2012 at home, and 2-0 in 2014 at home.
Since the away exchanges shifted to the United Arab Emirates in 2011-12, Pakistan won the first of the two exchanges 1-0 with the two sides drawing 1-all in 2013-14.
Sri Lanka squad:
- Dinesh Chandimal – Captain, Lahiru Thirimanna – Vice Captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Sadheera Samarawickrema, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Rangana Herath, Lakshan Sandakan, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishva Fernando, Lahiru Gamage.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-