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Pace rookie Prasad only newcomer for Bangladesh

Cricket: SSC's 22-year-old pace rookie Dammika Prasad is the only newcomer to the Sri Lanka Test and One-day teams picked for the tour of Bangladesh starting later this week.

Prasad, a right-arm fast bowler has played in only 22 first-class matches since his debut in 2001-02 but within that period has captured 80 wickets at an impressive cost of 22.85 runs apiece.

He is the only new face in two squads of 15 players picked separately for the series of three one-day internationals and two Tests in Bangladesh.

The surprise element in the selections is the dropping of Russel Arnold and the retention of veteran Sanath Jayasuriya in the one-day squad and not for the Tests.

Arnold returned to form by scoring half-centuries in the last two VB final matches against Australia which Sri Lanka lost, but fails to find a place in the one-day or the Test sides.

At 36 years Jayasuriya who is easily the elder statesman of the team and has recovered from a nagging dislocated shoulder should have been managed carefully and kept for the longer version of the game rather than being risked in the fast-paced one-dayers. However, champion off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who has made his intentions clear about playing one-day cricket has been picked only for the Tests.

With captain Marvan Atapattu and vice captain Chaminda Vaas rested from the tour, the responsibility of leading the side has fallen on the shoulders of Mahela Jayawardene who will have Kumar Sangakkara as his deputy.

Along with Jayawardene and Sangakkara, seven others namely, Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedera, Malinga Bandara, Farveez Maharoof, Prasad and Dilhara Fernando have been picked for both versions of the game.

Sri Lanka will have a new pair of openers for the Test series with Tharanga and Michael van Dort being named in the Test squad.

There are recalls for wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene, all-rounder Hasantha Fernando and leg-spinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi. Maharoof who was forced out of the Australian tour with a leg injury has regained his place for the Tests and one-dayers while Jehan Mubarak has been retained for the one-day matches.

The Sri Lanka team which returns from a tour of Australia early today will leave later the same day for Bogra, Bangladesh. They open the tour with the three-Test one-day series with a day-nighter on Monday (February 20) at Bogra followed by day matches at Dhaka on February 22 and Chittagong on February 23.

The Tests will take place at Chittagong from February 28-March 4 and at Bogra from February 8-12.

The squads subject to Sports Ministry ratification:

ONE-DAY SQUAD: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Kumar Sangakkara (vice-captain), Upul Tharanga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Jehan Mubarak, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedera, Farveez Maharoof, Hasantha Fernando, Dhammika Prasad, Dilhara Fernando, Ruchira Perera, Akalanka Ganegama, Malinga Bandara, Kaushal Lokuarachchi.

TEST SQUAD: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Kumar Sangakkara (vice-captain), Upul Tharanga, Michael van Dort, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedera, Prasanna Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan, Malinga Bandara, Farveez Maharoof, Dhammika Prasad, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Thilan Samaraweera, Sajeeewa Weerakoon.

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