Sri Lanka include Warnapura in ODI squad

August 13th, 2008 - 2:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Aug 13 (IANS) Opening batsman Malinda Warnapura was drafted in the 15-member Sri Lankan cricket squad that will take on India in a five match ODI series beginning next week in Dambulla. The left-hander’s consistent performance in the three Test series against India was rewarded by the national selectors Wednesday. Warnapura scored 243 runs at an average of 60.75.

Warnapura is the third opener in the side backing up veteran Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Udawatta.

Although the Sri Lankan selectors opened with Jayasuriya and left-handed Kumar Sangakkara during last month’s Asia Cup with significant success, they are likely to go back to a conventional opening pair to ease the burden on Sangakkara, who is the only specialist wicketkeeper in the side.

“Malinda deserves his place in the side after his consistent performance with the bat having done so well in the just concluded Test series,” Sri Lanka’s Chairman of Selectors Asantha de Mel told IANS.

“The Test series was exciting and we want to keep the momentum with the Champions Trophy starting in three weeks time in Pakistan. The Champions Trophy is a vital tournament and the five match series against a tough Indian side is ideal leading up to an important tournament,” de Mel added.

The selectors also recalled fast bowler Dilhara Fernando, who was ruled out of the Test series with an ankle injury.

Sri Lanka Squad:

Mahela Jayawardene (Captain), Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Udawatte, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedara, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando, Ajantha Mendis, Thilina Tushara Mirando, Nuwan Kulasekara, Jehan Mubarak and Malinda Warnapura.

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