Wednesday, August 13, 2008

India's nemesis Jayasuriya back for ODIs

Colombo : Sanath Jayasuriya is back to torment the Indians yet again as Sri Lanka's selectors named him in a fairly predictable squad for the five match limited over series starting next Monday.

Also included is the double-edged spin duo of Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan along with Chaminda Vaas and the recalled Dilhara Fernando in a squad of 15.

It was the crushing Jayasuriya century at the Asia Cup final that not only rescued Sri Lanka but also created a problem for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team in a game where Mendis spun a web of mystery that India's batsmen failed to unravel in the Test series at ended in an eight-wicket win on Monday at P Sara Oval.

The choice of openers as partners for Jayasuriya are Malintha Warnapura, who gets a deserved chance to display his capabilities after his impressive Test innings along with Mahela Udawatte.

One surprising omission from the squad is Dammika Prasad who blasted a hole in the Indian top order on debut in the Test that has just ended and the feeling is that he deserved an opportunity to bowl at tourists. While Prasad has been included in the A Team to tour South Africa later this month and in September, his place in the squad for the five-match series is Thilan Thushara.

Chamara Silva, who has lost his Test place, is preferred to Thilan Samaraweera who is looked on as a Test player. Chamara Kapugedara has been included, despite a patchy Asia Cup tournament, but no doubt his spin bowling will be seen to be useful.

Sri Lanka's selectors, involved in a rebuilding exercise, have agreed with Jayasuriya that it is time to allow him to concentrate on what is left of his career as a limited overs player and bring on new talent in the squad to be led by Mahela Jayawardene.

There is no time frame on when Jayasuriya is likely to retire as an ODI player, but chances are at this stage, once the Champions Trophy is over, he might take a second look at his options.

Sri Lanka have a limited overs series against Zimbabwe in November and from all accounts the selectors plan to use those games to rebuild a limited overs squad.

While the batting has a familiar look, so too does the bowling with the injured Farveez Maharoof still sidelined because of his rib muscle injury which is still causing concern. Although he has been included in the squad for the Champions Trophy, the absence of Maharoof, who made an impression in the Indian Premier League, has created a lower-order imbalance and probably the reason that Nuwan Kalusekara has been given the nod ahead of Prasad.

The ODI section of India's tour of the island is a practice game scheduled for P Sara Oval on Friday before transferring on Saturday to the cultural triangle town of Dambulla where the first two limited overs games are being played on Monday (18) and Wednesday (20).

Because of the Olympic Games schedule, these will be day games while the three at Premadasa are scheduled on August 24, 26 and 29.

Sri Lanka squad: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Kumar Sangakkara (vice-captain), Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Udawatte, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedara, Tillekaratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vass, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekara, Jehan Mubarak, Malintha Warnapura.

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