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Sri Lanka name expanded test squad due to injuries

By Staff
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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Mar 23 (Reuters) Injuries to opener Sanath Jayasuriya and pace bowler Chaminda Vaas mean Sri Lanka have named an 18-man squad for the two tests against Pakistan.

Vaas has a side strain and is considered doubtful for the opening match, which starts on Sunday, while Jayasuriya, who has not played test cricket since September due to a series of injuries, will have a fitness test on Saturday.

Captain Marvan Atapattu has already been ruled out of the series with a back problem.

''Sanath is recovering very well,'' Sri Lanka's stand-in captain Mahela Jayawardene told reporters.

''We will include him if he thinks that he can manage a test match and the physio also agrees. He is an experienced cricketer and we definitely would like to have him.'' Michael Vandort and Ian Daniel have been named as stand-by openers should Jayasuriya miss out.

Nuwan Kulasekera and the uncapped Dammika Prasad will provide cover for Vaas with Dilhara Fernando and Lasith Malinga set to lead the pace attack.

''Chaminda (Vaas) is going to be very important for the England tour (in May) and we don't want to take any risks with him so he'll only play if he's 100 percent fit for the match,'' Jayawardene added.

Sri Lanka have picked three frontline spinners -- Muttiah Muralitharan, Malinga Bandara and Sajeewa Weerakoon -- in the squad which still needs to be ratified by the government.

They lost the one-day series against Pakistan 2-0.

Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Kumar Sangakkara (wicketkeeper), Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Michael Vandort, Ian Daniel, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Kapugedera, Chaminda Vaas, Farveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga, Dammika Prasad, Nuwan Kulasekera, Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan, Malinga Bandara, Sajeewa Weerakoon.

Reuters DH VP0045

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