ESPNCricinfo: Zimbabwe Cricket has announced that they will host Sri Lanka for two Tests followed by a one-day tri-series that will also involve West Indies. The two Tests will be played in Harare, with the first one from 29 October and the second from 6 November.
The tri-series will begin from 14 November with the first match between the hosts and Sri Lanka at the Harare Sports Club. The three teams will play each other twice, making it a total of six round-robin matches, before the final on 27 November. The last four ODIs and the final will all be played in Bulawayo.
Sri Lanka’s tour of Zimbabwe was originally scheduled in the FTP with two Tests, three ODIs and a T20I. Later, there were chances of the tour being replaced by the tri-series with West Indies, as the Tests were not being considered as financially viable, but now the Tests and tri-series both will take place. Had that happened, Zimbabwe would have gone without playing a Test for 11 months.
There were chances of the Tests being scrapped because of Zimbabwe Cricket’s growing debt and the economic situation of the country as a whole. Recently, the Harare-based players had refused to train in protest over unpaid match fees, which dated back to July last year. The protests ended after assurances by Zimbabwe Cricket Chairman Wildfred Mukondiwa. Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka last played a Test in a two-match series in 2004. They have played 15 Tests against each other, with Sri Lanka winning 10 of them and five ending in draws.
Karunaratne, Thirimanne in Sri Lanka A squad Vs West Indies
ESPNCricinfo: Sri Lanka batsman Dimuth Karunaratne has been named captain of the A team for the first two four-day games at home against West Indies A. Lahiru Thirimanne, who was omitted for the Tests as well as limited-overs series against Australia, found a place in the 15-member squad.
Thirimanne has not played competitive cricket since the Lord’s Test in June. Karunaratne, meanwhile, is coming off an underwhelming Test series: he had managed only 41 runs, including five single-digit scores, at 6.83 in six innings against Australia. Strong performances for the A team could help the two batsmen bolster their prospects at the senior level.
Left-arm wristspinner Lakshan Sandakan, who took match figures of 7 for 107 in the first Test against Australia in Pellekele, the best by a chinaman bowler on Test debut, was another prominent name in the A squad. Sandakan’s match returns were also the third-best by a Sri Lanka bowler on debut.
Batsman Avishka Fernando and seamer Lahiru Kumara, who recently broke into the ODI squad, and Under-19 captain Charith Asalanka, who led them to a whitewash against England Under-19 last month, were also named in the squad. Fernando and Kumara are also Under-19 graduates. Kusal Perera, named vice-captain, Niroshan Dickwella, and Asela Gunaratne were the other international names in the squad. The first of three four-day matches gets underway at the R Premadasa Stadium on 4 October.
Sri Lanka A squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt.), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera (vice-capt.), Roshen Silva, Charith Asalanka, Niroshan Dickwella, Asela Gunaratne, Avishka Fernando, Anuk Fernando, Vimukthi Perera, Prabath Jayasuriya, Lakshan Sandakan, Asitha Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Madushanka