Colombo: Muthiah Muralitharan was the lone spinner named Friday in Sri Lanka's team for the upcoming tour of South Africa as the selectors reposed their faith in fast bowlers.
The 16-man squad for next month's two-Test series has six new ball bowlers, including rookie left-armer Thilina Thushara, who is considered the fastest bowler in the country. All-rounder Hasantha Fernando and pacer Tharanga Lakshita are the other new faces in the team captained by dashing left-hander Sanath Jayasuriya. Seasoned Chaminda Vaas will be supported by Dilhara Fernando, Sujeewa de Silva, Chamila Gamage, Thushara and Lakshita in the pace attack. While Vaas has played 62 Tests, the remaining five have a combined experience of only 14 Tests between them. The Tests are scheduled to be played at Johannesburg from November 8 to 12 and at Centurion, near Pretoria from November 15 to 19. A separate squad will be named for five One-day Internationals Sri Lanka will play in South Africa after the Test series. Aravinda de Silva's retirement from Test cricket, announced on Thursday, gives tall left-hander Jehan Mubarak a chance to make his first tour with the senior squad after his debut at home against Bangladesh earlier in the season. Prasanna Jayawardene is the lone specialist wicket-keeper in the squad, although batsman Kumar Sangakkara has kept wickets in both Test and One-day cricket. Sri Lanka's Test squad:Sanath Jayasuriya (captain), Marvan Atapattu (vice- captain), Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Russel Arnold, Hashan Tillekeratne, Jehan Mubarak, Hasantha Fernando, Chaminda Vaas, Dilhara Fernando, Sujeewa de Silva, Chamila Gamage, Thilina Thushara, Tharanga Lakshita, Muthiah Muralitharan, Prasanna Jayawardene. Coach: Dave Whatmore.
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