Nishan Madushka and Milan Rathnayaka have been handed maiden Test call-up while Chamika Karunaratne has made a return to the Sri Lankan Test squad for the upcoming two-match Test series against New Zealand. Sri Lanka Cricket Board on Friday (February 24) announced a 17-member squad led by Dimuth Karunaratne for the tour.

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23-year-old Madushka has got a maiden Test call-up on the back of his rich form, with scores of 241 and 100 against England Lions in the two first-class matches in early 2023. Notably, he has also smashed 150 in a practice game against Lions playing for SLC Board President's XI. He amassed 3389 runs in 38 first-class matches, including a career-best of 300 not out.

Meanwhile, Milan Rathnayake, 26, has picked up 42 wickets in 22 first-class appearances with one five-wicket haul. Whereas Karunaratne has not played a Test since his debut against Australia in February 2019. He bagged a four-wicket haul in the second first-class game against the Lions and also stuck a half-century against the same side in a List-A game. Karunaratne was handed a suspended one-year ban last year for breaching the player agreement and featured in the limited-overs series against India earlier this year.

The squad also includes Lahiru Kumara, who last played a Test against India in March 2022. Meanwhile, Dunith Wellalage, Lakshitha Manasinghe, Jeffrey Vandersay, Pathum Nissanka and Dilshan Madushanka are the notable exclusions from the squad that took on Pakistan in a Test series in July, last year.

This bilateral against New Zealand will be Sri Lanka’s first Test series in more than seven months. The two Tests, are to be played from March 9 and March 17 in Christchurch and Wellington respectively.  If Sri Lanka wins the series 2-0, they will stand a chance of making the final of the World Test Championship. However, they will still need India to beat Australia 4-0 or at least a 2-1 result in that series to get through to the summit clash.

Sri Lanka Test squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Kamindu Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Nishan Madushka, Ramesh Mendis, Prabath Jayasuriya, Chamika Karunaratne, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Asitha Fernando, Vishwa Fernando, Milan Rathnayake

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