Sri Lanka and Pakistan to make big changes ahead of third Test

Sanagakkara will not feature in the third Test against Pakistan

Sanagakkara will not feature in the third Test against Pakistan

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Sri Lanka and Pakistan have both been forced to reshuffle their squads ahead of the third and final Test in Pallekele.

For the first time since July 2000, Sri Lanka will be without Kumar Sangakkara or Mahela Jayawardene as the former has travelled back to England to represent Surrey while the latter has retired from Tests.

Sangakkara will be replaced by left-handed batsman Upul Tharanga, whose last Test match for Sri Lanka came in August 2014.

“It’s a strange experience to be without Mahela and Sanga, but we have some good young players who are ready to step in,” Sri Lanka vice captain Lahiru Thirimanne told reporters on Thursday. “Upul has been around for a long time and understands the demands of Test cricket.”

Pace bowler Dushmantha Chameera, who made his debut during the second Test in Colombo, will have to undergo a fitness test prior to the third Test as he is nursing a side strain.

“Chameera is 50-50 for the Test,” Thirimanne said. “It is not yet certain if he will play.”

Thirimanne added that Sri Lanka are planning to use to three-man pace attack and include just one spinner in their side for the third Test.

With veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath only having taken two wickets in the first two Tests, he is likely to be dropped and Tharindu Kaushal is set to be the lone spinner in the squad.

In terms of the pace attack, should Chameera be ruled unfit for the match, it is likely that he will be replaced by Suranga Lakmal.

“It’s a good wicket for batting, but it does help the fast bowlers at the start,” Thirimanne said. “We may play three seamers and just one spinner.”

Pakistan meanwhile will be without pace bowler Wahab Riaz as he is injured and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez as he has to undergo an official bowling test after being reported for a suspect action for the second time in less than 12 months.

“At least we have 11 players to pick from,” Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-haq said. “We have a lot of options and each one of them is focused on doing well for the country.”

Batsman Shan Masood is set to come in for Hafeez, while Rahat Ali is likely to replace Riaz. However, ul-Haq made it clear that Pakistan’s squad has yet to be finalised.

“We will field a combination that is good enough to win the match,” he said. “With Jayawardene and Sangakkara not there, this is our best chance to beat Sri Lanka.”

Both sides will be aiming to win the third Test as the series is currently tied 1-1 after Pakistan won the first Test by 10 wickets before Sri Lanka bounced back to clinch the second Test by seven wickets.

Pakistan squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Azhar Ali, Ahmed Shehzad, Shan Masood, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Junaid Khan, Imran Khan, Ehsan Adil, Rahat Ali

Sri Lanka squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal, Kithruwan Vithanage, Jehan Mubarak, Kusal Perera, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Tharindu Kaushal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhammika Prasad, Dushmantha Chameera, Suranga Lakmal

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