Sri Lanka axe Jayasuriya

Colombo, November 11:

Seasoned opener Sanath Jayasuriya was on Friday dropped from Sri Lanka’s 15-man squad for next month’s three-Test series in India, Sri Lanka Cricket said.

The 36-year-old left-hander, a veteran of 100 Tests and Sri Lanka’s most successful current batsman with 6,580 runs, paid the price for a disastrous outing in the ongoing one-day series in India.

Jayasuriya, afflicted with a shoulder injury, managed just 85 runs in the first six games of the seven-match series, which India lead 5-1 ahead of Saturday’s final international in Baroda.

It is the first time Jayasuriya has been omitted from the Test side since cementing his place as an opening batsman in 1995.

Middle-order batsman Russel Arnold, leg-spinner Upul Chandana, seamer Nuwan Zoysa and all-rounder Dilhara Lokuhettige were other players in the one-day team not picked for the Tests.

Mahela Jayawardena, another batsman short of runs in India, was stripped of the vice-captaincy. Seamer Chaminda Vaas was promoted as skipper Marvan Atapattu’s deputy. Agressive left-handed opener Aviska Gunawardene, leg-spinner Malinga Bandara and fast bowler Lasith Malinga were recalled. Bandara played for Gloucestershire in English county cricket this season and was named the county’s player of the year.

Left-arm spinner Sajeeva Weerakoon and middle-order batsman Chamara Kapugedara are the new faces. Sri Lanka’s first Test series in India since 1997 begins in Chennai on December 2, followed by the second Test in New Delhi from December 10 and the third in Kanpur from December 18.