GALLE, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat on the opening day of the first test against England but must do so without captain Dimuth Karunaratne, who was ruled out with a fractured thumb.
The injury is another blow to Sri Lanka, who had several muscle strains on their recent tour of South Africa and failed to get senior seamer Suranga Lakmal fit in time after he struggled with hamstring issues earlier this month.
Dinesh Chandimal will captain the team in Karunaratne’s place as veteran Angelo Mathews returns and fast bowler Asitha Fernando is preferred to Vishwa Fernando after making his debut in Johannesburg earlier this month
England handed a debut to 23-year-old Dan Lawrence, who will bat at No. 5.
England chose to open the bowling with Stuart Broad and Mark Wood, leaving record wicket taker James Anderson out, and will have two spinners in Dom Bess and Jack Leach with part-time back-up from skipper Joe Root.
Moeen Ali misses out because he tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival in Sri Lanka and has been in isolation since. Chris Woakes was also forced into a brief period of isolation after close contact with Moeen and has not had enough preparation time.
It is the first time England and Sri Lanka meet since 2018 when visitors England were 3-0 series winners.
Sri Lanka: Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella (wicketkeeper), Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Asitha Fernando.
England: Dominic Sibley, Zak Crawley, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (captain), Dan Lawrence, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Sam Curran, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, Jack Leach.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Peter Rutherford)