Malinga, Maharoof ruled out; Mendis to debut against India

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Colombo, Jul 21 (UNI) Tearaway fast bowler Lasith Malinga and all-rounder Ferveez Maharoof have been ruled out for the first Test against India starting July 23 here at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) ground.

Malinga and Maharoof were earlier recalled into the national pool for the Champions Trophy after injury lay-offs.

The selectors have decided to allow them more time to recover from their injuries and waited till the three-day warm up game at NCC finished to name the final 15 as some of the players were given opportunity to prove their fitness and form in that game.

The selectors have decided to offer the Test cap to spin sensation Ajantha Mendis who bamboozled the Indians in the recent Asia Cup final in Pakistan.

The young Sri Lankan Army player, who has a variety of deliveries in his armoury, is certain to make his Test debut and will partner Muttiah Muralithran, the most successful bowler in Tests.

However, the national selectors were contemplating about the last place in the final 15 between left arm spinner Rangana Herath and out of form medium paceman Dilhara Fernando.

As Herath failed to produce something extraordinary in the warm up game that ended yesterday and there were two spinners already confirmed in the team, they decided to leave Herath out.

However, selectors are not entirely happy with Fernando's performance and feel youngster Dhammika Prasad, who captured three wickets and also scored 43 runs in the practice game, should be given a chance.

Sri Lanka probable squad: Mahala Jayawardena (Captain), Kumar Sangakara (Vice Captain), Michael Vandort, Malinda Warnapura, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedara, Tilan Samarweera, Prasanna Jayawardena (Wicket Keeper), Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Kulasekara, Tilina Thushara Mirando, Dilhara Fernando or Dhammika Prasad, Muttiah Muralidaran, Ajantha Mendis.

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