• ODI form gets Perera Test recall

    Sri Lanka have recalled batsman Kusal Perera for January and February 2019’s Test series against Australia.

    Perera only played three Tests last year, scoring a mere 92 runs in six innings. He displayed superb form during the recent ODI series against New Zealand, though, striking 102 in Mount Maunganui and 43 in Nelson.

    All-rounder Angelo Mathews was overlooked for selection due to a hamstring injury. Batsman Lahiru Thirimanne and seamer Nuwan Pradeep have been retained.

    The Australians and Sri Lankans will meet for two Tests, in Brisbane and Canberra.

    ODI captain Lasith Malinga, meanwhile, is expecting improvement from Sri Lanka’s middle order and bowlers in the wake of Tuesday’s three-nil ODI series whitewash at the hands of New Zealand.

    Unsuccessful in the first two ODIs in Mount Maunganui, the tourists failed to improve in the third. Instead, characteristic failings – and superb centuries from opposition duo Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls – ensured a 115-run defeat in Nelson.

    ‘After the first 30 to 35 overs, the last 15 overs did not go well. I’m a bit disappointed with the bowling, we have to improve in the end 15 overs. This is the second time I’m leading the team, and I’ve really enjoyed it because I’ve played a lot of cricket with them. I have to enjoy with them and pass on my knowledge to them,’ said Malinga, who replaced former captain Dinesh Chandimal prior to the start of this series.

    The veteran pace ace relished star performances from Kusal and all-rounder Thisara Perera despite a lack of consistency from the rest – and looks forward to Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign in the United Kingdom later this year.

    ‘We have time to work that out before the World Cup. We still need to improve our middle order batting. I feel that before the next tournament they will adjust to the conditions and learn. I think Thisara and Kusal did a very good job,’ added Malinga.

    Test squad: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha.

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