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Sri Lanka name four spinners

March 05, 2004 11:16 IST

Sri Lanka have picked four specialist spinners in a 15-man squad for the first of three Tests against Australia starting on Monday in Galle.

Sri Lanka selectors recalled leg spinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi to complement spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan, off spinner Kumar Dharmasena and leg spinner Upul Chandana on a pitch that is expected to turn extravagantly.

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Sri Lanka also called up left arm fast bowler Nuwan Zoysa for the first time since June 2002 after an impressive comeback during the recent one-day series. Zoysa is expected to share the new ball with Chaminda Vaas.

Pace bowler Nuwan Kulasekera, 21, has been picked in the Test squad for the first time. Opener Avishka Gunwardene, who scored 70 against Australia in their recent practice match, returns after a long absence.

Sri Lanka are expected to play seven batsmen, including Kumar Sangakkara who will keep wicket, plus four specialist bowlers, at least two of which will be spinners, in their final playing XI.

Speedster Dilhara Fernando failed to make the squad after a slow recovery from a back injury, He will continue his rehabilitation work and management hope that he will be available for selection later in the series.

The 15-man squad, chosen by the selectors on Thursday night, needs to be ratified by the sports ministry. The team travels to Galle on Friday.

Sri Lanka and Australia are due to play three back-to-back Test matches in Galle, Kandy and Colombo. Sri Lanka won the last series between the two teams 1-0 in 1999.

Sri Lanka squad: Hashan Tillakaratne (captain), Marvan Atapattu, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara (wicketkeeper), Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Avishka Gunawardene, Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Zoysa, Nuwan Kulasekara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Dharmasena, Upul Chandana, Kaushal Lokuarachchi.

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