Sri Lanka leave for Pakistan to play two-match Test series

February 14th, 2009 - 9:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Feb 14 (IANS) After a disappointing one-day series loss against Indians at home, the Sri Lankan team led by Mahela Jayawardene left for Pakistan Saturday to play the two-match Test series starting Feb 21 in Karachi.

Jayawardene, who will step down as captain after the series, said that his team has a good combination of young and experienced players and hoped that a series win was possible in Pakistan.

“The boys have practised very hard and it is an opportunity for us to perform well and win the series. Winning a Test series outside Sri Lanka is always great,” Jayawardene told reporters at the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) headquarters before leaving for Pakistan.

The first Test in Pakistan will be played in Karachi Feb 21-25 while the second will be played in Lahore March 1-5.

Jaywardene said that he would be glad if the team performs well and gives him “the Test series win in Pakistan” so that he can step down as a captain on a winning note.

Sri Lanka have named two newcomers in their 15-man squad, batsman Tharanga Paranavitana and fast bowler Suranga Lakmal.

“It is a good opportunity for the newcomers, especially for Suranga Lakmal to learn from the fast Pakistani wickets. We are well focussed on the tour and would do our utmost to the series,” said Jayawardene, who has led the Sri Lankan team in 26 Tests and 97 ODIs during the past three years.

Under his captaincy, Sri Lanka has won 15 Tests, lost seven and drew four with the winning ratio of 62.5 percent. As captain, he averaged 64.70 in Tests with 11 centuries.

Sri Lanka Test squad: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Malinda Warnapura, Tharanga Paranavitana, Kumar Sangakkara, Thilan Samaraweera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Prasanna Jayawardene, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Farveez Maharoof, Dilhara Fernando, Thilan Thushara, Suranga Lakmal.

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